Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fans should not vote for and/or elect Pro-Bowlers

Once upon a time in the 1960s and 1970s, the ProBowl actually meant something. Players were ultra-proud to be elected to the ProBowl. Many more played in the game than play today. The game itself was also a better spectacle to watch than it is now.

Why? Because the players elected the players. Only the players elected each other. Players were proud to be elected by their friends and competitors. They felt this was a legitimate way to determine who was truly the best. Players wanted to appear in the game because they wanted recognition for the fact that they had been elected to the ProBowl. Do I need to remind anyone that Jack Youngblood played in the ProBowl on a broken leg? He did so immediately after playing in the Super Bowl.

The NFL front office, however, was consistently vexed by their inability to turn the ProBowl into a premier spectacle of sport MLB All-Star Game, or even the NBA All-Star game. Both of those events outshine the ProBowl in terms of viewership. There have been endless re-jiggerings of the ProBowl format to try to (somehow) connect the fans to the event.

In their infinite wisdom, the NFL decided to allow fans to elect the ProBowlers. It went to hell in a hand-basket at that point. This is how you have preposterous outcomes like 12 Chargers in the ProBowl, or 13 Cowboys. A more rational review of those rosters indicate that they were talented, but not that talented. Fans are stupid. They vote for winners. They vote for statistical category leaders. That is all. They don't necessarily vote for the best man. The best man may not be a statistical leader, and he may not be playing for a winner.

Now the NFL has decided to play the ProBowl during so-called "Dead Week"; the week before the Super Bowl. This will keep the NFL on the agenda during Dead Week, and it will make the ProBowl part of the hyper-hype before the Super Bowl, rather than the extreme afterthought afterward.

It may be a good move, but if you want to really make the ProBowl significant, do the following things:Allow only players to vote
  1. Allow defenders to vote only for offensive players
  2. Allow offensive players to vote only for defenders
  3. Allow special teamers to elect the special kickers, punters and specialists.