Something crazy happened to me on Sunday.
I was sitting at home and writing, just like I do pretty much every Sunday. And in the afternoon, just for the heck of it, I decided to turn on the Pro Bowl and attempt to watch some of it.
It was the first time that had happened in several years. I can’t even remember the last Pro Bowl I watched. And I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed it … a little bit. I liked seeing the goofy uniforms (royal blue for the NFC, fiery red for the AFC) with each player wearing the helmet of the team he played for. I enjoyed getting to root for Patrick Mahomes as the quarterback of the AFC squad since I rooted so heavily against him a week ago.
As someone who appreciates All-Star Games for what they are — a collection of the best talent in the league sharing one field — I enjoyed just simply watching an All-Star Game. That part was cool. What wasn’t so cool is what the Pro Bowl has been reduced to: players just goofing around on the field, with some offensive players playing defense and vice versa. At least play the game like it’s a real football game.
The Pro Bowl also took a pretty big hit when the NFL starting putting it between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. A handful of players don’t even participate in the Pro Bowl because they are preparing for the Super Bowl the following week. If some of the league’s most exciting players … like say, um, Tom Brady for example … can’t even be at the event, what’s the point in watching?
Let’s face it; no matter what the NFL does, the Pro Bowl will never again be a must-see event. Many fans just don’t take All-Star Games seriously because there’s nothing on the line in the game (and they call themselves fans?), and players, even though it’s an honor to be selected, view it as something to do for fun. That’s just the way it is, and probably the way it always will be.
But the NFL could make it a little better than it is. The best way to do that would be to play the game after the Super Bowl like it used to, so that all players selected for the game can participate. Also, if the Pro Bowl was the last football game of the year, players and fans might take it a little more seriously because, well, it’s the last game of the year.
Who wouldn’t want to tune into the Pro Bowl, getting a chance to see the league’s best players on the field one last time, before the NFL’s brutally long offseason gets underway? I know I would.
Regardless, even though the 2018-19 Pro Bowl was mostly an eyesore, I kind of enjoyed tuning in this past Sunday and watching bits and pieces of it. I would’ve enjoyed it even more if it was next Sunday instead, and I could’ve seen players from the Patriots and Rams there too. But it is what it is.
We’ll see how I’m feeling a year from now. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll tune in again next year for a quarter or two.