Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Pro Bowl needs changing

One last, final last.

That?s how the Pro Bowl has been advertised in recent years
and after three straight days of football columns, it seems fitting that I
start this one about the pigskin All-Star Game the same way.

After two weeks of Super Bowl buildup, the game and all of its post-game
analysis, you?re probably sick of football talk by now, but that feeling only
makes my point even stronger. Right now, the thing football fans really need is
a break, not another game. Unfortunately, the season?s last (and most
meaningless) game takes place this weekend, and just when you thought you?d
heard every piece of football analysis there is, you?ve still got to get
through another week of it.


The sad thing is that this game should be the most fun to
watch. How often is it that fans can root for LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian
Westbrook or Reggie Wayne without it affecting the teams they root for or their
fantasy football matchup?

The Pro Bowl, however, just doesn?t cut it as a fun All-Star

Unlike other sports?, the NFL?s All-Star Game is not played
at midseason, but rather a week after its conclusion. And unlike baseball, the
outcome of the game has no effect on the championship.

As it is now, the Pro Bowl is little more than an
afterthought on the season. By the time the game rolls around, even the most
ardent fans are drained from the exhilarating playoff season, and the Pro Bowl
isn?t much to look forward to.

The players participating in it are no different. Most are
exhausted from the regular season and some from the playoffs, with the result
being guys not giving the kind of all-out effort that makes football so great
in the first place.

There?s also an evident disconnect having to do with playing
the game in Hawaii. Sure, after a long season of playing in the cold, playing
under Hawaiian sun may be great for the players, announcers and ticket contest
winners. But for fans across the continental states, it makes attending the
game extremely difficult.

Overall, the Pro Bowl, despite the potential to be great, is
just a lackluster game. It is too bad that the NFL has to end on such a low
note rather than the high note struck by the Super Bowl.

Complaining about the Pro Bowl is easy enough, but what good
would it be if no solution were offered at the end of it?

With the possibility of injuries all too prevalent, it would
be impossible to play the game during the season, and playing it before the
season begins doesn?t make any sense either. However, there is another option:
play the game the week before the Super Bowl.

Loyal readers of ?Smack Talk? may recall that two weeks ago
in this space I made light of the downtime that occurred between the league
championship games and the Super Bowl ? and the even longer version that occurs
after it. Well, the Pro Bowl doesn?t do much to make this period any better,
and the weekend before the big game is pretty boring anyway. So why not take
the opportunity to spice it up?

Put it in the city due to host the next year?s Super Bowl
(giving the city a practice run at hosting a major sporting event), and don?t
allow players who are on the championship teams to play in it.

This way, players don?t have to worry about playing the week
after the Super Bowl, and it gives elite players on poor teams (Jason Taylor,
for example) a chance to put on the pads one last time while the sport is still

As it is, Tom Brady and Randy Moss will be skipping the
Super Bowl. It?s also a safe bet that the other players that just played in
Phoenix and are set to go to Hawaii aren?t too thrilled to delay their offseason
by a week.

Playing the game at this time would alter the coaching
staff, but that can be fixed by going with a team that just missed the playoffs
and has a coach with a secure job.

Both games are played on the same network, so there wouldn?t
be any problem there. And it would be a hard to imagine a situation where the
Pro Bowl actually took hype away from the Super Bowl.

It?s clear that the Pro Bowl is just an afterthought at this
point, but it doesn?t make sense for the premier league?s most star-studded
game to be such a downer. If there?s going to be ?one last, final last,? it
might as well be the Super Bowl so the NFL season can go out with the bang it


Mike Ackerstein is a
sophomore majoring in political science. If you?d like to see changes made to
the Pro Bowl, he can be reached at [email protected].

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