NFL Pro Bowl Game Adds Player Risk, Cancel It?
Sunday, Jan. 27th 2013 7 p.m. will kick of the NFL Pro Bowl Game for the 63rd time. This game has decreased in interest over the years due a lack in quality. Players have not, and should not, play these games like they would as part of their team’s season. With the increase of attention to player safety the NFL is one body pushing for more physical game. Not a great move in the shadow of lawsuits claiming the NFL was “hiding” information related to CTE and football. Players have changed their view when it comes to the NFL Pro Bowl game as well. Prior to 1995
voting was done only by the coaches and players. The selection process now consists of three voting bodies. (1/3 coaches, 1/3 players, 1/3 fans) Due to the new standard of voting many players, one I spoke to, have said “It’s an honor to come but it’s now a popularity contest. I’m honored but I can’t risk my career here. I will play, I just won’t play like I would if it were a playoff game.” This is a smart and common view of players in the Pro Bowl.
The NFL Pro Bowl Game – Player Injury Risk Means Canceling Game Is Only Option After 2013Overall 16 players declined invitations, citing injury — eight from both sides, including all three NFC quarterbacks — the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Washington’s Robert Griffin III. The Saints’ Drew Brees, New York’s Eli Manning and Seattle rookie Russell Wilson stepped up as replacements for McCarthy….More at NFL Pro Bowl Preview – AFC vs. NFC (ET) – MiamiHerald.com
The NFL ratings are still holding well in spite of the fans fading interest. The issue that the NFL Pro Bowl game faces is that no player should put his career at risk for a game that means nothing to their career. If you are a Colts fan then you’re thrilled you have Andrew Luck, and happy he made the Pro Bowl, but will you risk losing him to an unlikely injury? Of course not! NFL network and former Super Bowl winning Eric Davis said…”The league isn’t going to guarantee the player’s salary, the team isn’t going to do it either. Why would your risk that?” Davis went on to talk about changing the format to be an expanded skills competition. That’s a great idea and one I would tune in for without falling asleep.
After watching countless NFL Pro Bowl games that were truly forgettable I welcome the change in the format. The Drew Brees elbow dislocation is what did it for me. If a player like Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, or Robert Griffin III were to be lost in an exhibition game, do you think fans would be as supporting? Why do we need something that terrible to happen to know the game, while tradition, is worth the risk? The NFL is facing multibillion dollar lawsuits for their alleged lack of concern for player safety, and continuing to promote the NFL Pro Bowl game goes against their best interest.