I’ll just come straight out and ask: why does the NFL release the Pro Bowl rosters two weeks before the season ends? Save it, wise-guy commenter, we all realize there’s probably some logistical nightmare of a reason behind this, but it still doesn’t make the regular kind of sense. There’s simply no need to tell everyone on December 18th who will start the Pro Bowl game in February. After all, this isn’t baseball. The game doesn’t happen at mid-season. The NFL is wasting our time with this meaningless announcement.
First, the most obvious reason: there are two freaking games left! Not only that, but since we’re in the last weeks of the season, all of these games matter quite a bit more. Especially for the teams fighting for a playoff spot. Doesn’t making the Pro Bowl mean that they’re big-time players? There’s no time where that gets proven more than these next two weeks. Wouldn’t it be nice to see how Ben Roethlisberger does when a playoff seed is on the line for his team before we send him to Hawai’i?
Besides, the guys from teams that have already wrapped up bye weeks and playoff berths have already done their good work and we probably know they’re already in. There is virtually nothing to be gained by announcing the teams now.
Also, with two games left, there’s the very, very likely chance that more than a few of these current Pro Bowl-ers will get injured between now and February. Every year, the roster turnover from the announcement date to the actual game is HUGE. Players get hurt. They decide they don’t want to risk playing in a meaningless game when they have non-guaranteed contracts. Heck, some guys just don’t want to think about football once their team is eliminated from the playoffs. They just go to spend time with their families and chase groupie-tail. Lorenzo Neal got voted in and he’s likely out for the season. Sean Taylor is dead, for God’s sake! It’s a great gesture by the fans, players and coaches, but it just means some one else will be playing safety in that game.
Is there any reason the fans, players and coaches couldn’t use the extra two weeks to evaluate and vote? But the NFL could still announce the rosters during the playoffs or even that dead week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. All that roster turnover would probably still happen but it wouldn’t drag out over weeks and months as more and more people drop out.
At this point, the only meaning this game has is for homers like Phillips and I to gloat that our Chargers have eight Pro-Bowlers this season – including special teams dynamo Kassim Osgood. And that’s down from last season! If there’s one thing San Diego knows, it’s talent. Ooooh, I’m so scared of Devin Hester, Bears fans. Good to see so many of his teammates made the game along with him….See? It turns us into jerks over something utterly pointless.
Finally, the Pro Bowl is just plain stupid. None of the players care. The fans don’t care. No one even watches on television. It’s just a reason for the guys to spend a week in Hawai’i with their families after the season while they put their careers on the line for nothing. Here’s a solution: why not just eliminate the Pro Bowl game altogether? Then we could simply have an All-Pro Team and have one of those cool skills competitions for everyone to watch on a random Sunday before baseball starts again and everyone is happy. The winner could even get some extra money. I’d much rather watch Tom Brady and Peyton Manning throw chalk-tipped balls at moving targets on golf carts and heckle each other than watch everyone phone it in and pretend to hit each other for four boring quarters. I mean the only guy who actually took the game seriously enough to hit someone is no longer with us.
Only the NFL would still have this problem. It monitors whether players pull up their socks and what they use and don’t use during touchdown celebrations, but it can’t tweak the Pro Bowl format at all. The announcement of the rosters was barely a story today because everyone knows it doesn’t matter yet. I’d go for the big finish with a call to boycott the Pro Bowl, but it’d be redundant since no one is going to watch anyway. So keep doing what you’re doing, America, and maybe one day those fat cats will wake up!