January 31, 2012

Madden: Pro Bowl 'Embarrassment to Pro Football': Coach and commentator John Madden said Sunday's Pro Bowl should be the last the NFL ever plays. "It was pathetic," he told KBCS radio. "It was embarrassing to pro football. And if they're going to play like that -- or not play like that -- there shouldn't even be a game. ... They just can't keep embarrassing themselves. Heck, the fans in Hawaii were booing them." Though ratings for the game were down 8 percent, it was still the most-watched sports event of the weekend.

posted by rcade to football at 03:51 PM - 20 comments

I agree with Madden, it was pathetic. First off, it is obvious the game is too dangerous for any player to compete on a full speed level, especially when they are more interested in avoiding injury than anything else in a meaningless game. Also supposedly you had the best defensive players in the league allowing 100 points to be scored by offensives that have not practiced or played together. It just resembles a pick up flag football game and really doesn't do the league, fans, or players any justice.

Maybe the selection to the pro bowl should be more like making the NCAA All American selection. Just making the list is the honor and some sort of fan event could be organized but the playing of a mock football game just turns the event into the WWE version of the NFL. A waste of time in my opinion.

As I watched an onside kick in the first half of a close game, and guys lateraling and improvising as if it were a playground touch game, all I could think about was finding something else to watch.

posted by Atheist at 04:38 PM on January 31, 2012

Embarrassment? Probably worse than that. I would suggest disgrace or travesty. Do away with the game altogether. It could be replaced with a nice awards ceremony - after the Super Bowl, thank you - with some decent entertainment that appeals to people younger than 50 and features an emcee who does not think he or she is the most important person on the stage. Mix in some highlight films and some former players from the teams of those selected to introduce the selectees, and you could put together a decent 2-hours of TV. Since there was absolutely nothing else on TV during this year's exhibition, I watched some of it while preparing dinner. I damn near barfed into the beef stir fry, and that's not my secret ingredient.

posted by Howard_T at 05:00 PM on January 31, 2012

I would rather see skills competition and a flag football game, then that joke of a Pro Bowl they had. I watched part of the 1st quarter and a few minutes of the 4th. Better yet just name a pro bowl team selected by coaches, players and media and announce who was selected. No game, no going to Hawaii, no nothing.

posted by ic23b at 06:19 PM on January 31, 2012

Do they not do the skills competition anymore? I agree that that sort of thing is way more interesting. It's sort of like the NBA version, where I don't even know if there even still is a game, but I will watch the 3 point and dunk contests. The NFL needs to find its equivalents to those 2 if they want this to be sustainable, I think.

Maybe something like "best catch" that pairs a QB with a receiver who has to run an obstacle course and make an insane catch into a foam pit or something. If you could come up with a couple of other really high profile "sexy" events, you might have something. Basically, admit that the current version sucks because no one wants to get hurt and then address it directly by setting up crazy situations but with as much safety equipment as you can find.

posted by feloniousmonk at 07:17 PM on January 31, 2012

I don't blame them for not wanting to get hurt. An exhibition game isn't worth a career ending injury. That said, this year's Pro Bowl seemed more like an appearance by Burt Reynolds and Dom Delouise on Johnny Carson's version of The Tonight Show than an actual sporting event.

posted by Joey Michaels at 07:22 PM on January 31, 2012

Flag football. Why don't they try it in pads (no helmets) on a field (not a beach) for one year and see how it goes?

posted by yerfatma at 07:53 PM on January 31, 2012

How about a skills competition, followed by a flag football game between the teams' cheerleaders.

I'd watch that.

posted by dviking at 08:48 PM on January 31, 2012

How about bagging the entire game and the ridiculous charade of giving these guys an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii. Not a big fan of MLB awarding home-field advantage on the winner of their all-star game, but they must be laughing at the NFL for the crap they ram down people's throats with this performance. They did make a good move having it played on one of the most pathetic sports Sundays of the year. Anyone that needs NFL football so bad they need to watch this game may want to seek other hobbies.

posted by dyams at 09:17 PM on January 31, 2012

How is the Pro Bowl any worse than the NHL or NBA all-star games? This year's NHL game had 21 goals, fer Chrissake...

posted by MeatSaber at 09:35 PM on January 31, 2012

the ridiculous charade of giving these guys an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii.

And give up charging platinum tier prices for people who are rich but not rich enough to snag Super Bowl tickets? Na ga happen. It's a boondoggle for the players, it's a corporate-expensed midwinter junket in Hawaii for those who go to watch.

posted by etagloh at 11:21 PM on January 31, 2012

How is the Pro Bowl any worse than the NHL or NBA all-star games? This year's NHL game had 21 goals, fer Chrissake...

I wouldn't place the MLB all-star game all that high above them either. It may be closer to the real thing than the other three, but I've fallen asleep during more than a few of them.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:19 AM on February 01, 2012

Players just don't want to get hurt. And great point about the NHL allstar game--21 goals! Just do away with it & just have it an honor to be named.

posted by kandylynn at 12:42 AM on February 01, 2012

You know, it dawns on me that I'd rather see a couple of bros play the original version of Madden Football for six hours than watch another pro-bowl.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:24 AM on February 01, 2012

If I was in Hawaii I hope I could find better ways to occupy my time than go to that thing.

posted by dyams at 06:10 AM on February 01, 2012

I haven't watched the Pro Bowl in more than 20 years. I couldn't even watch in the week after a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl victory to see Aikman, Irvin and Smith. I don't think there's any way to make it interesting.

The only thing I can suggest is to move it each year and pair it with Super Bowl-like fan festivities, so that at least one city is fired up about it.

posted by rcade at 08:21 AM on February 01, 2012

If nobody in the States cares about the Pro Bowl (I agree -- I don't think I've ever watched more than five minutes of it *total* and I'm in my 30s) and the NFL is desperate to branch out more internationally, why not start playing it abroad? It seems to me like folks in other countries would rather watch an All-Star American Football game than the Rams vs. Tampa Bay or something, and as an added bonus, I'd think players would be a little more hyped to go to London or Tokyo or Barcelona or something than Hawaii for the sixth or seventh time.

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:47 AM on February 01, 2012

"It seems to me like folks in other countries would rather watch an All-Star American Football game than the Rams vs. Tampa Bay or something"

I suspect most fans in England are savvy enough to know what they'd be paying for if the Pro Bowl ended up at Wembley and while you may fill the stadium once with that garbage, purely on corporate jolly and curiosity buys, you wouldn't fool them twice.

I know a clutch of people who are already pacing by their phones until ticket lines open to buy for Rams vs Pats.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:34 PM on February 01, 2012

It seems to me like folks in other countries would rather watch an All-Star American Football game than the Rams vs. Tampa Bay or something

What Mr B. said: the Wembley games consistently sell out because they're not exhibitions.

Remember that one of the early questions in the dispute that led to the lockout was extending the regular season to 18 games. In the end, it never became part of the CBA, but I think it sharpened players' minds to the idea that their bodies and livelihoods last a relatively small number of games, and they'd all better count.

posted by etagloh at 02:27 PM on February 01, 2012

How is the Pro Bowl any worse than the NHL or NBA all-star games?

In the case of the NHL All Star Game, I both agree and disagree. As an exhibition of solid, 2-way team hockey, it was a dismal failure, as all previous have been. Where I disagree is in the format of the team selection. Having the 2 captains do the "choose up sides" thing lends an atmosphere of a neighborhood game at your local pond. The players during this year's game seemed to treat is as such, appearing to have a great deal of fun while showing off their skating and scoring skills. The idea of the NHL game is to attract new fans, and showcasing your best having fun is a good way to do it. Having players wearing microphones allowed their personalities to shine through. If new fans do start watching, they will soon enough learn the nuances of the entire game - offense, defense, and goaltending - as they experience more hockey.

The NFL seems to think that allowing players to have fun is equivalent to heresy and must be strictly controlled. Thus, the Pro Bowl is to be treated as a real game. The extra $25K that the winning side receives is chump change to most of these guys, so why should they even try. Memo to Roger Goodell: Dump the Pro Bowl or let it turn into a fun fest.

posted by Howard_T at 04:21 PM on February 01, 2012

I'd rather watch the college Senior Bowl, where guys are actually playing hard to possibly impress teams and help their draft potential. Send those guys to Hawaii.

posted by dyams at 04:39 PM on February 01, 2012

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