Does anyone really care?
The NFL is hosting it's annual all star game in Hawaii this weekend. Here's why I won't be watching!
The rule changes in the Pro Bowl make it a dull and boring affair. The rules are inclined in such a way to protect players which is fine but after all this is a football game and it's not worth playing in it's current form.
My biggest issue is on the defensive side of the ball. Teams must play a 4-3 scheme(Both Superbowl teams play 3-4) and only the 4 down linemen are allowed to rush the quarterback; ie no blitzing.
But wait a minute? Don't the Packers and Steelers both blitz quite a lot? And isn't this Superbowl being heralded as one of the most highly anticipated in years?
Don't expect to see any exotic defensive packages either as no more than 4 defensive backs are allowed on the field at once and press coverage is not allowed. I didn't realize wide receivers were so fragile...
The fans have way too big a say in what players get to the Pro Bowl.
A third of the overall vote comes from the average football fan which allows for players to make it on reputation.
The biggest example of this is last season when the fans voted in Troy Polamalu as the starting Strong Safety for the AFC. Polamalu played in 5 games last season.
The four starting outside linebackers for the All Star teams are as follows; Brian Orakpo, Demarcus Ware, Cameron Wake and Terrell Suggs. Each of these players are deserving of their spot. However each of these players earned most of their votes from their sack totals. None of these players will have a sack in the Pro Bowl as they are not allowed to blitz from the 4-3 system. The voting system should reflect this fact and teams should play based on the players they have.
Last season was the first time ever that the Pro Bowl preceded the Superbowl. The NFL marketed this as a build up to the Superbowl.
This hasn't really made a huge difference to the relevance of the game, in fact it has slightly dampened it as the Pro Bowl used to serve as one last taste of something that at least looked like football before the long offseason. Now it gets lost amongst the buildup to the Superbowl.
The biggest problem I have with this is it removes the Superbowl players from the game. This year there are 10 players who were removed from the Pro Bowl due to their participation in the Superbowl. No player is ever going to choose the Pro Bowl over the Superbowl, even if they had the choice.
4.So-Called Star Power.
A total of 26 players have been removed from the rosters since the original teams were announced for various reasons.
A combination of the Pro Bowl's selection system and the toll on player's bodies after the long season means that many of the best players in the league will not be involved in the game. MVP-elect Tom Brady headlines a pack that includes future hall of famer Antonio Gates, the best receiver in the league Andre Johnson, star rookie defensive tackle Ndamukung Suh, future hall of fame safety Ed Reed amongst many more.
This brings more replacement players into the game and devalues the term Pro Bowl player. The greatest example of this was David Garrard's presence in the Pro Bowl last season, Garrard had the 7th most votes of the quarterbacks in the NFC.