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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • From the Bench: Laughable Pro Bowl still on schedule

  • Well, it looks like they are going to play that silly game after all.
    Before the start of the current National Football League season there was a debate among the powers that be as to whether or not a 2012 Pro Bowl would be played. Over the years the contest has turned into an embarrassing offensive display, not unlike an unsupervised sandlot flag football outing.
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  • Well, it looks like they are going to play that silly game after all. Before the start of the current National Football League season there was a debate among the powers that be as to whether or not a 2012 Pro Bowl would be played. Over the years the contest has turned into an embarrassing offensive display, not unlike an unsupervised sandlot flag football outing. Several rules were changed including no blitzing and allowing only a three-man rush on the quarterback. They say the rules were changed to avoid freak injuries in a game that amounts to nothing more than a glorified exhibition game. However, I believe the real purpose was to spark more offense as desired by the fans. The scores of the past few Pro Bowls have been in the neighborhood of 55-45 or 59-52. That doesn't exactly make the defensive players who made the teams look like all-stars. The all-stars that wind up playing in the game are not all-stars in the true sense of the word, most are subs, third or even fourth choices. Why? You might ask, because the Pro Bowl was originally scheduled after the Super Bowl in February. That gave the players who played on non-playoff teams and those that played on playoff teams that bowed out early a chance to recover from a long, season of cuts, bruises and other injuries. Currently, the Pro Bowl is played between the NFC-AFC championship games and the Super Bowl. Now, common sense tells you that the guys playing in the really big game are not going to risk even the slightest injury to play in a meaningless exhibition game. But, who has the largest number of true all-stars – the AFC and NFC champions of course. Several other players excuse themselves from the game because they are simply ready for the off-season to finally begin. Others are working on new contracts and getting injured is hardly worth the risk. Those who wind up playing in the Pro Bowl game are those players who gladly accept a free trip to Hawaii with all those palm trees and bikini-clad women while earning a little extra pocket change – as if even the second stringers need the additional cash. Of course, the game is set in Hawaii for a lot of reasons. Pro football is very popular in the 50th state but its location so far away from the mainland makes it impractical for travel purposes to permanently locate an NFL franchise there. However, it is too lucrative of a setting for the league's presence to not be felt there. Once upon a time, it was required that each NFL team had at least one representative on the respective Pro Bowl rosters. Thank goodness they changed that rule or the AFC would be forced to have a Tennessee Titan or a Jacksonville Jaguar on its roster. Well, one thing is for sure. You won't be seeing Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers quarterbacking their conference all-stars. That means it could wind up with a matchup between the Minnesota Viking's Joe Webb and the Titan's Jake Locker – or even worse, the Jets' Mark Sanchez. Anybody remember the joke they called the college all-stars vs. the National Football League champions, which hailed the official start of the football exhibition in late July or early August. The game lasted a decade or so. I think the college all-stars managed one upset win and perhaps a tie. The rest were blowouts by the defending NFL champs. The last scheduled game was mercifully wiped out by a thunderstorm. The game faded into oblivion. Maybe the NFL should take the hint concerning the laughable Pro Bowl. The pro football all-star lacks the luster of its counterparts in major league baseball and the National Basketball Association or the National Hockey League for that matter. Despite my trash talk about the Pro Bowl I'll probably be in front of my set on Jan. 27 watching it anyway. It is still better entertainment than television is turning out these days.

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