If The Pro Bowl Doesn't Feature Pro Bowlers Is It Really A Pro Bowl?
There is no way to fix the Pro Bowl. No matter when you have it or where you play it, it's just not going to have a lot of juice. In an ideal situation the best teams will play in the Super Bowl and naturally the best teams will have the most Pro Bowlers. So whether the Pro Bowl is before or after the Super Bowl, the prime players from championship-caliber squads won't be playing in the exhibition game. Indeed 14 players from Indianapolis and New Orleans won't be playing in the Pro Bowl this year.
I do like the fact that the NFL moved the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl this year and that it's being played in Miami. I think it's the only way to get any buzz going and since the NFL world is already focused on Miami, why not fold the Pro Bowl into that cycle? However with the Pro Bowl so close to the playoffs now a number of players that played well into January won't be in Miami. 11 players from playoff squads won't be in Miami and that doesn't include the likes of Steven Jackson, Brian Cushing and Patrick Willis.
In fact, 31 Pro Bowl-worthy players won't be playing today. That number doesn't include Minnesota's Bryant McKinnie who was given the boot after missing two practices. McKinnie was taking in Miami's nightlife and apparently couldn't get his motor going the next morning. So here's what we have: among AFC quarterbacks there's Vince Young, who only started the half the year, and David Garrard, who threw less yards and had a lower completion percentage than last year when he wasn't a Pro Bowler. The NFC squad features Frank Gore and DeAngelo Williams, neither of whom finished in the top 10 in rushing yards.
There's still talent on the roster: Chris Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Darrelle Revis and Andre Johnson will all play. But when you consider the guys who won't be playing you have to wonder if the Pro Bowl, which was never the good to begin with, is even worth being called a Pro Bowl.