Did any of “you’s” guys and gals check out the NFL Pro Bowl or a.k.a. the game that doesn’t mean anything especially when it is played a week before the Super Bowl. Being one who chronicles the game, I have no preference when or where it is played. Thank God for Madison Avenue and the ad industry because if it wasn’t for some serious “bucco’s” coming in the chances of the “sham bowl” being held at all would likely be slim and none.
If the NFL power brokers would sit back and think, they might realize that marketing is about timing as well as content.
Now if the game was moved from warm climate venue, to warm climate venue, sort of like the Super Bowl locations, that would help. Also, play the game during the 1st week of March when the true football “junkies” are about to experience close to fatal “withdrawal” symptoms. The participating players would be fresher therefore insuring the possibility of a more competitive game. Now a few of you naysayers suggest that the participants would be rusty because of such a layoff but they certainly would be healthier. With a score of 62-35 how can fans and foes alike gauge who is serious about playing the game and who is not.
I am going to offer a few incentives. 1. If the NFC wins the “All-Star” game then 75 percent of the Sunday and Monday night games would have to feature NFC versus NFC, ditto if the AFC wins. See all of the players want their market, their teams, their division and their conference to be featured on the national stage. That puts a little more fire under the players’ fannies. 2. Postseason play would also receive the same prime time preferential treatment. 3. Whatever conference wins the Pro Bowl if the team representing that conference wins the Super Bowl then instead of that team being the last to choose in the first round of the upcoming draft, that team would be elevated to choose first. As far as I am concerned that is the most important aspect. The NFL and the advertisers must find a way to create and sustain a more competitive and entertainment environment in regards to just the viewership of the game. If the aforementioned components were instituted as a part of the game, the players’ children and all sorts of other folks would not be running around on the sidelines before the game even concluded. As of now, no one seems to be taking this game seriously, no one; this includes, fans, players or anyone else.
Please indulge me as I deliver a few post game quotes from the “performers.” One of the most unlikely stories was the Seattle Seahawks rookie QB phenom Russell Wilson. Wilson was sort of a long shot just to make the Seahawks roster but was anointed as the starter even before the 2012 season began. Also young Mr. Wilson has already become an “all pro” interview as well. After the game he said this: “It’s been an unbelievable week, and the thing was, if you watched us, everybody was competing today and it was really awesome.” Talented as he may be, I nominate Russell to sell that 40 acres and a mule that I left behind in Antarctica if anyone believes for a moment that the game that I witnessed was really, really competitive. The rules of the game itself don’t allow that.”Guys were competing, guys wanted to win and guys want to keep the game here,” gushed Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph who was also the MVP of the game. “That was the point before the game. We want to keep this game rolling for future Pro Bowlers.”
There were a few awesome moments such as when center Jeff Saturday, who is calling it quits after the season, snapped the ball to both Peyton and Eli Manning, although he officially represented the NFC. Saturday played 13 seasons in Indianapolis, all but one with Manning. His snap to Peyton Manning for the final time possibly sealed both of their trips to Canton. When asked how such a play was even possible Saturday said, “He’s got a little more pull than I got.” As far as his take on the play Peyton Manning said, “It’s something that I’ll always remember that he’ll always remember to kind of get that one, final snap together after the thousands that we’ve taken together.” There is no way that I would advocate just for the sake of argument that the Pro Bowl should be discontinued. However, the rules must be reconfigured or redone because the competitive aspect of the contest has become disfigured. Most people attend the Pro Bowl because they can attend a football game while on vacation. The reasoning should be that one can have a good vacation as a prelude to an awesome game. The NFL is the most visible and profitable sports entity in America. There are very few people that do not watch the game or are not impacted by the game in a direct or indirect way. When you find a great sale on steak or nachos because of the playoffs, thank the NFL. This is my message to the NFL, “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)