Forgive me if you’re a happy Jacksonville fan, but David Garrard probably doesn’t deserve to be on any NFL roster — especially the Pro Bowl one.
This season, the annual event wasn’t so much a game as it was a joke.
I was surprised they even got anyone to show up at the game. Did they give all those tickets away?
I was pretty skeptical when I heard that the league was planning to move the game to the week before the Super Bowl.
For starters, that eliminates anyone from the two best teams in the league. So how could they really call it a combination of the best players when the league’s MVP, Peyton Manning, couldn’t play? Or when the Super Bowl coaches can’t accept an invitation to coach?
At least the teams were still competitive about it — the announcers said NFC coach Wade Phillips was spying on the AFC team’s practice. But I guess it didn’t help, as Phillips’s team lost 41-34.
The NFL’s second mistake was taking it away from Hawaii — one of the things that used to make the thing fun to watch. (And that point is probably debatable. I used to like watching, but I know plenty of people that have hated it forever. Really, how great can football be when there’s a “no blitzing” rule?)
I don’t know about you, but there was something pretty cool about the Hawaiian shirts and leis, the beach sports and wishing I was enjoying the warm Hawaiian weather in February.
It’s not all the NFL’s fault. When players start dropping out and deciding not to play, there’s really nothing the league can do about it.
If the players aren’t going to respect the Pro Bowl, maybe they don’t deserve to have it at all.
Here’s the thing: what used to be a great gauge of a player’s career — “four-time Pro Bowl selection” for example — is never going to be the same after the AFC team had to stoop to Matt Schaub as its starter when Manning couldn’t play because of next week’s Super Bowl, and Brady and Phillip Rivers passed. Honestly, Schaub wouldn’t have even made the roster if those three guys played.
If this trend continues, the Pro Bowl is going to be pointless. Well, even more pointless than it used to be.
I know they made the changes to boost ratings and attendance, but is it really going to help?
If they really want to pump some life into the Pro Bowl, they should try something really creative and off-the-wall. Maybe an all-star game between the best of the NFL and college football … with blitzing.
That would probably never work or be agreed to by anyone. But no one would argue that a stale, irrelevant game a week before the Super Bowl seems to be a worse idea.
— Reid can be reached at email@example.com.