It’s time. And, Sunday was the last straw. We had already written earlier in the day that it was a miserable 50 degrees (felt colder) and raining throughout Sunday in Orlando for the 2019 Pro Bowl.
And metaphorically speaking we don’t like to “rain on everyone’s parade.” Nevertheless, we have finally reached a point, where the Pro Bowl should be done away with.
As in, for good.
At the risk of being criticized for being reactionary or even like Clint Eastwood and “Get off my lawn,” no one can defend any longer what we’re seeing, as anything that resembles a football game.
No you can’t defend something that used to be at least an aggressive and fun All-Star Game featuring the NFL’s best players, but that has devolved into a farce.
A farce where no one wants to block, much less tackle anyone.
This was on full display from the beginning of the game on the dreary damp Sunday in Orlando. This as, handoffs would go to running backs, who would run into the massive bodies at the line where players were not blocking the players in front of them. And, the referees would eventually just blow the whistle with everyone standing around.
Quarterbacks would throw the ball down the field to receivers, who were running 3/4 speed against defensive backs who were running a 3/4 speed and both might, or might not, try to make the catch or play on the ball.
Yes, there was an occasional moment, where are you saw flashes with a significant throw or runner would break free, but make no mistake: what the Pro Bowl has become, gradually over the last few years, and now on full display Sunday, is not football.
It’s not even close.
And to further make a mockery of it we saw, there were numerous players playing totally foreign positions, including on the opposite side of the ball.
This included the Bucs receiver Mike Evans playing defensive back for numerous plays, and eventually, because offense was being so lackadaisical, he was able to do this:
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 27, 2019
Later in the game Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey got his shot at playing some offense and, again, because no one cared on the NFC with under :30 remaining, he got to do this:
— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) January 27, 2019
There was Cowboys All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott playing defensive end at 230 lb and going around offensive lineman also at 3/4 speed towards the quarterback.
And, on and on.
We at F.F.I. get the fact the game used to be a post-season reward to players, who would go to Hawaii from 1980-2016. However, in the 80s, 90s and even early 2000s, the players were at least still trying to play football in the game. And, the fundamentals of blocking tackling and playing of the game were still consistently there.
Yes, the Players Association would squawk about this silly form of an All Star Game being taken away, but this point, they have very little leverage that the game needs to be played.
As for contract bonuses, they can be tied into other forms of accomplishment, like making the All-Pro teams or some other form of NFL designation for the best players at their position to be compensated for that and still, not having a Pro Bowl “game.”
Of course there’s the skills competition, like with the NFL did on Thursday in the Orlando sunshine. That’s entertaining and it could stay somehow, if you wanted.
And, maybe you turn the recognition of “Pro Bowl players” into a part of the “NFL Honors”/ Awards night, which currently happens now, on the Saturday night before the Super Bowl?
Just don’t go on trying to con anyone that this “game” is something worthwhile to watch.
And for those that argue: “it gets TV ratings,” put a re-run of the conference championship game the previous weekend on (like what the NFL Network showed throughout this past week) and people would watch it in droves, too.
The other three big professional sports of the NBA, MLB and NHL at least play some semblance of their game during their All-Star Game. And, the fundamentals exist and the players aren’t making a complete mockery of the game itself.
That’s what the Pro Bowl that we watched on Sunday now is. A mockery.
Forget about all the smiling and the waving and the MVP award that analyst Jason Witten dropped on national television and broke. (Yes, he really did).
It’s pro football’s All-Star game that’s broken.
And since the guys involved don’t want to play in it any longer, it should go away.
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