NFL Pro Bowl tonight... *yawn*
My response: Effort in the Pro Bowl game...huh?
For anyone who really enjoys football, the Pro Bowl is nearly always a huge disappointment. It's the NFL's "all-star" game where we get to see some of the best and most well-known players in the league take the field. However, most players don't take the actual game seriously nor put forth much effort, and I can't blame them for that. There's little incentive for them.
Football is a violent sport. To go all out in a meaningless game and risk the chance of injury doesn't make sense. The fact that these players are pieced together with little familiarity with one another only serves to heighten the risk. In a sport that is extremely complex and requires a lot of time for all eleven players to function in unison and be familiar with complex nomenclature and plays, it is silly to expect players to develop any sort of rapport with one another in a week of relaxed practices in Hawaii.
The NFL is trying to make this year's Pro Bowl interesting and generate some ratings. They've got players mic'ed up, they're trying to play up a Manning-brother rivalry, they're giving free access to a "digital program", and they're showing off cheerleaders. None of this is particularly groundbreaking or innovative, but it is an effort.
To provide some incentive for the players, Commissioner Goodell has made it known that he is evaluating whether or not the Pro Bowl game will continue to be played in the future. He would like to see a more competitive game and an overall "better product". I'm not sure how much of a "threat" many players (or fans) see this as. I'm not so sure that the players would miss it. And, as a fan, I know I wouldn't miss it (at least in its current format).
What's your take on the Pro Bowl - Do you watch it? Should the NFL do away with it? Should there be some alternative to it? Should the NFL attempt to incentivize better effort from the players?