2016 NFL Pro Bowl: It’s time to end the nonsense

Jan 31, 2016; Honolulu, HI, USA; General view of the 2016 Pro Bowl logo at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 31, 2016; Honolulu, HI, USA; General view of the 2016 Pro Bowl logo at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2016 NFL Pro Bowl has become a joke as it’s time to end the nonsense. With weird rules, players not even caring to put up a good game and the sheer ridiculousness of having players play different positions, it’s become an embarrassment.

The annual Pro Bowl was once again a dud. Once a game of highlight reels in the NFL, the Pro Bowl has been diminished by scheduling and rule changes over the last decade. The game has lost its luster, and ratings have shown it is a game only viewed by a fraction of real NFL fans.

Every year now some of the top talent around the league is absent from the game. Players from both Super Bowl teams will forego their selection and not risk injury a week before the big game. Still other elite players will be absent due to late season injuries that will not allow them to perform. This game isn’t even played by the Pro Bowl selections any longer, it is being played by more and more by replacements, ones the fans didn’t actually select.

Even if all the top talent that was selected for this game showed up, the game would still be a hard sell to NFL fans. The rule changes over the years guarantee that. Personally, I played in rougher two hand touch pick up games on the side streets of NYC, than this game provides. If the rules of the past several years haven’t turned you off to this game yet, then you might change your mind after taking a look at this year’s changes.

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In a radical move by the rules committee, the NFL goal posts, which have stood at 18 feet six inches apart since the early 1920’s, will be shrunk.

For field goals they will remain at the normal distance but will be shrunk down to 14 feet for point after attempts. The point after attempts will be moved from the two yard line to the 15 yard line. Making an extra point the equivalent of a thirty three field goal, but at a smaller target. It’s mind boggling to me, but I imagine the league thought this would add excitement to the game!

The new rule is entirely unfair to the kickers as well, these guys have never kicked an extra point from 33 yards out at a 14 foot wide target. That’s the way to bring excitement to this game? I hardly think so.

Next the league decided to give both teams two timeouts per quarter, instead of the traditional three per half in regular season games. Now you might say, why is he making a big deal about an extra timeout per half, but that is not the end of this rule change. If either team does not use both timeouts in a quarter, they will be allowed to carry the remaining one over.

Meaning a quarter could realistically have three time outs for both teams! I’m not sure what they were thinking, but this is not the top strategic game of the season here! Why do we need more timeouts in a game that is already slow moving and boring? I just don’t get it!

Add these rules to the changes they made last year to this game and I honestly don’t know what fans will be watching, but I’m pretty sure it will not be NFL football. Last year if you remember they instituted a rule that stops the clock on gains of less than a yard with the exception of plays within the final two minutes! It’s ridiculous, this rule only extends the playing time to a lackluster and meaningless football game.

I balked over this one last year, but the NFL seems content to have us sitting in front of our TV’s for an even longer length of time! Slowing this game down, isn’t for the benefit of fans, it’s for the benefit of the advertisers who have protested over the money they were spending for a game that was steadily dropping in viewership. The NFL apparently believes the revenue dollar is more important then bringing the fans quality entertainment. I just don’t understand!!

January 31, 2016; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Irvin alumni captain Michael Irvin celebrates a first down during the fourth quarter of the 2016 Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium. Team Irvin defeated Team Rice 49-27. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While I’m on a roll, can someone explain to me why the NFL decided to have the ball change hands every quarter? The regular season it happens at the half, and I certainly haven’t heard any complaints that this format is broken. Why change it for the Pro Bowl? This game is likely the least strategic game of any NFL season, so once again I’m left baffled. It confuses the game, and the fans, and I see absolutely no benefit to the players either. If you can come up with a good reasoning for this change, please explain it to me in the comments!!

Did anyone truly get the need for a coin toss to decide teams last year? Even reading this rule confused me. On Jan 20th last year, their was a coin toss held at the PreGame ProBowl Conference. The winner of this coin toss would get to choose between the “Captain Group” and the first selection in the prime time “Pre Selection Draft.” With me still?

Then, on January 21st of last year, players selected in the “pre selection draft” were announced and players were given their teams “Pro Bowl Jersey,” the remaining players selected on Jan 21, are given their NFL teams’ jersey to be worn in the game. I’ve read this over and over and still have to scratch my head trying to figure out what rocket scientist in the NFL hierarchy came up with this idea! The only conclusion I can come up with, it is two additional shows that the NFL can sell advertising  for.

This game has never been a premier game in the NFL year. Players are on vacation with their families, but the event itself has lost all respectability. On the players part, they aren’t going to risk injury, especially those set to become free agents. The game is a shell of a true NFL game, it’s played at a crawl, with no one playing at full speed. Players are more interested in the photo opportunities and selling their own product, than the game itself. They know as well as we do as fans, this game is the follies, not football. It resembles an annual circus, and I for one am tired of it.

The game is more about advertising dollars and the NFL’s bottom line than it is the game of football. The game is a cute way for general managers  to add incentives to a players’ contract to get around cap restriction than anything else. This game isn’t real, it is a mirage. For me, it has come time to put this game to bed once and for all. Let the fans select the top talent around the league, recognize the players accomplishments with a paid vacation to Hawaii and let’s be done with it!

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That’s my take on the Pro Bowl. I see no reason to consider it a viable game any longer. The event is all about everything but football. So, needless to say, I won’t be turning in my frequent flier miles and fly to Hawaii for any weekend involving this meaningless game. And if you were wondering, I certainly did not tune in!

Thanks to all my readers and the staff here at The Jet Press for the support over this past year. It was a good year to be a Jet fan. My thanks also goes out to my editor, who has always supported me in my writings. I’ll be stepping away from the keyboard for a while due to personal reasons, but I look forward to returning here for another season so you all can help me Talk Jet Football!! Please leave your comments below!