The 2016 Pro Bowl seemingly couldn’t end any quicker as the poor excuse of an All-Star “weekend” ended with Team Irvin winning 49-27 over Jerry Rice’s team.
It was played exactly how we thought it was going to go, no defense, guys not caring yet still making athletic plays to keep you kind of interested to see what happens next.
There were plenty of long balls and all the quarterbacks played pretty well, all throwing for over 100 yards except for Eli Manning who racked up a whopping 75 and a touchdown. Russell Wilson threw for the most touchdowns (3) and Derek Carr threw for the most yards with 198.
As the game went on more and more players were dogging it and it eventually worked its way to a glorified version of two-hand touch. Guys were playing different positions which I honestly don’t mind. Plus, this was a really cool picture:
I’m sure they all played both sides of the ball up until college and even still probably dabble every so often on the opposite side.
Also as long as you’re semi-athletic you can at least make it look like you know what you’re doing and it allowed players to have some more fun which happened when Seattle’s defensive tackle Michael Bennett lined up to take a direct snap.
Overall it was nothing that really dropped the panties and got people running to the TV asking their friends, “Did you see that?” Yeah, it’s still football but the caliber of athletes that are on the field should be producing a better outcome compared to whatever that was.
On the other side of the spectrum the NHL All-Star weekend was a hit in every sense of the word. John Scott was the man, hands down, bar none and got the ‘Rudy’ treatment after his team won the championship 3-on-3 tournament that they debuted this year.
The 3-on-3 style was different and everyone was kind of unsure as to how it was really going to come across. It did breed a faster pace, which led to more goals which is what people want to see. I’m not saying the fans are looking for 20 goals to go on the board, there should be some sort of defense, but forwards undressing goalies is what gets people in the seats and brings people to want to watch it.
The NFL has been giving us this abomination of an All Star event that only has one aspect that is relied upon. With the NHL, if the skills competition is really that terrible (which it never is) they at least have the actual game to fall back on and vice versa.
The NFL has everything riding on the game and it hasn’t been anything special in so many years that I can’t even remember the last exciting Pro Bowl.
I touched on it lightly in the Pro Bowl preview here, but in conversations in the rest of the week, an accuracy throwing competition, trick-catch competition and a longest kick-type event seems like it would get the job done to still bring in money for the league.
You don’t need a big humongous huge event to get everyone back in one swing. Add those new events, refine them as participation increases and be proud in the product that you’re selling to the biggest fan base in sports.
There’s no way that those new competitions won’t bring in viewers and on top of that, advertisers will want to sponsor everything to make some money and appeal to fans. Every other sport does other events and according to @BiasedDave’s poll, the NFL has the least favorite All-Star festivities out of the four major sports.
These competitions bring together the best athletes that the respected sports have to offer. They bond, they build relationships and they pick each other’s brains about everything. Guys with no Super Bowl experience gain a lot of intel from the older guys who have been around the block a couple times.
Jon Gruden was talking about all the linemen soaking up in the pool just talking about game situations and how to handle themselves and that whole aspect could be enhanced even more if the weekend was extended further than the single-game day.
If nothing is going to change because of tradition or whatever excuse they’re going to use then at least bump the winnings up. $70,000 isn’t even enough to bring these guys to Hawaii. This place:
Also in contrast, the NHL hands out a lot more money (go figure, right?) They gave the winning team $1 Million and even if they end up donating it all or doing whatever they’re going to do with 1/11 of a million, it just straight up gets people more excited. It grabs people’s attention; 70,000 does not.
We were able to experience a Doc Emrick “Bumpy road to the finish,” before the final went to 1-0 in the NHL All Star Championship game because those guys were going all out. It very well could have been for the money, but who knows?
Either way, it was entertaining to watch because those were the legitimate best players in the NHL (or World, whichever works) playing the best hockey they could. The NFL cannot say that for their participants, and something needs to change.
Hopefully with both the Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star games being on the same day, it will alert somebody with a brain to notice that there’s a reason as to why the All Star game was such a hit and the Pro Bowl was such a flop. For now, here’s to hoping.
Also, a big thing that stands out to me every time this event comes around is the playbook. Obviously the guys playing with their own coaching staff have an edge but I just don’t get how they can learn a completely new system in a span of only a couple days.
I get it some things are the same, sluggo’s still a slant and go, a smash route has the inside receiver run a corner and the outside guy run a curl but at that level, the playbooks are a lot different and way more complex.
“Zebra Rocket red with a ZY shuffle, All Lightning” can mean something or it could mean nothing and that’s probably the reason why they’re out doing this stuff and we’re here writing and reading about it.
One really awesome thing that did happen was the tribute to Charles Woodson who played in his last NFL game last night after 17 years. He was only the second player behind Barry Sanders to earn Pro Bowl honors his first season and his last season.
He will be greatly missed in the league and we can only hope that he taught these young guns right and we'll soon have more players flying around like he did so well. Farewell Charles Woodson, Sir.
In the end we're one day closer to pitchers and catchers reporting and Dirty Water is getting louder and louder each day.
By Cole McNanna