Say Aloha To The Pro Bowl
Gus Merwin
amarc543@uwsp.edu
For those of you who do not know, “aloha,” by modern definition, also means goodbye. That’s exactly what we should say to the NFL Pro Bowl in its current state.
 
The only draw this year’s debacle had for me was the inclusion of Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings. While watching the two Packers stars play in the Pro Bowl pales in comparison to watching them in another Super Bowl, I was willing to attempt to watch for a few series.
 
Unfortunately my adoration for the two was overpowered by the appalling level of effort I saw in just the few minutes I watched.
 
A healthy portion of Aaron Rodgers’ best plays happen while he is on the run. The problem is, “hurries,” don’t exist as a statistical category in the Pro Bowl. There is close to zero pass rush or pressure of any kind, allowing the quarterback ample time to find a receiver who is more often than not 10-yards from the nearest defender.
 
In an interview with Jim Rome on Tuesday, Aaron Rodgers expressed surprise by the amount of effort he saw being expended, or lack-there-of.
“I personally have to apologize for some of the things that went on during that game,” said Rodgers.
 
Rodgers went on to explain how he felt he owed it to the fans to put on a good show to demonstrate his appreciation. He felt that his previous Pro Bowl had more all-around energy.
 
That lack of passion and energy is exactly why people are turning off what the NFL is trying to pass off as a game. The 2012 Pro Bowl averaged 12.5 million viewers, beating last season’s MLB All-Star Game by 1.5 million viewers.
However, those numbers say very little due to the fact that football consistently outdraws baseball in television viewership anyway. Using those statistics would be like arguing that Jersey Shore gets more average viewers than Dora the Explorer, it’s a foregone conclusion.
 
Sometimes there are standout performances like the one Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall put together. Marshall set a Pro Bowl record with four touchdown catches in the game, including one on his back following a near interception.
 
As refreshing as it was to witness a few players give an admirable amount of effort, it simply wasn’t enough to outweigh the rampant slothfulness.
 
The players who participate get paid to play in the game. That should tell you almost all you need to know about the Pro Bowl. Many people don’t like the fact that the MLB All-Star game decides home field advantage, but at least that gives the game some reason and purpose. The only thing that happens once the Pro Bowl is decided is the players on the winning team get more money.
 
If the NFL wants to hand out money after the game that’s fine. But instead of giving a check to the players, what if they donated the proceeds towards concussion research or NFL veterans’ benefits. Make a game that means next to nothing to anyone mean a lot to someone.
 
The reason the NFL moved the Pro Bowl from the week after the Super Bowl to the week before was so they could boost their ratings. The numbers may prove that they technically have done that, but the attitudes of the viewers do not.
 
I have never talked to a person who has watched an entire Pro Bowl, and many people I know have never watched a single snap. If the effort shown in this past game is any indicator of what is to come, I believe that number is sure to rise.
 
If the players don’t care, why should we?