Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl. NFL officials, tired of hearing those six words and seeing the TV ratings to prove it, are shaking things up this year. By moving the league’s all-star game up a few weeks to now – 7 days before the Super Bowl – they’re hoping the country’s football media frenzy will give the much-maligned Pro Bowl a much-needed shot in the arm.
But it wasn’t just the post-championship time slot that kept fans away. Want to know what’s REALLY wrong with the Pro Bowl? Lack of Competition. Back in the day, the Pro Bowl offered players two big bonuses: a free trip to Hawaii and an extra game’s paycheck. Today’s players are paid too much for either of those things to matter, and when you add in the risk of injury, the stars that don’t back out end up playing a game that only vaguely resembles the high-octane affairs we see on a regular Sunday.
Now add to that the fact that this new earlier date means the 14 players fans picked from the two best teams in the league aren’t playing. Next, factor in the list of players who won’t or can’t play because of injury: Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Larry Fitzgerald, Charles Woodson… and the rosters start lookin’ even lighter.
It’s not just football. Both the NBA and the MLB’s all-star games get upstaged by the Slam Dunk Contest and Home Run Derby. Heck, baseball even resorted to using their game to decide home-field advantage in the World Series but viewers still aren’t tuning in.
I guess that’s one more reason why I love the PGA Tour so much. Most tourneys are like an all-star game. Sure, injuries or other issues (*cough* Tiger *cough*) might keep some names out, but chances are you’re gonna see some big stars battlin’ it out on almost every Sunday afternoon for a good chunk of the year.
PS: OK, your turn! Tell me why I’m wrong or back me up by leaving a comment. Can’t wait to hear from you…