the Pro Bowl

Can we fix the Pro Bowl?

Why don’t I care about the Pro Bowl?

This may be the million-dollar question. The Pro Bowl is the NFL equivalent of the All-Star Game, but it fails compared to the MLB and the NBA ones.

Now, what is the reason for this? It can’t be because baseball and basketball are better than football; now that’s just ludicrous.

Maybe it’s the lack of value in the game. The MLB All Star Game actually matters. The winning division gets home field advantage in the World Series.

This could be a great thing for the NFL to adopt, but then they would have to have the Pro Bowl during the season.

The recent reformatting of the Pro Bowl has only made it worse. Firstly, they moved it to be before the Super Bowl, which excluded some of the best players each year. I mean, that’s obvious, they made it to the Super Bowl after all.

Secondly, it is no longer NFC versus AFC. This has really led to the demise of the Pro Bowl, not that it was ever great, but it was better than this. This year, for example, it was Team Irvin versus Team Carter. Each coach “drafted” players that were selected to the Pro Bowl by voting.

Now let’s be frank, this is just unnecessary. They are trying to model a pickup game of football. Why are you ruining something that could honestly be so great?

Think about it. A game where Aaron Rodgers is throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. Does that sound awesome or does that sound awesome?

On paper, it should be. In reality, it is similar to watching paint dry.

So, why can’t we have the Pro Bowl midseason like the NBA and MLB do?

Maybe the reason the NFL is opposed to this is because of the physicality of the sport.

However, the NFL plays the fewest games per season compared to these sports. Yes, I understand football is literally running into someone and getting hit. But playing 82 basketball games a season probably isn’t too easy either.

Regardless of the levels of physicality, you play any sport at a professional level that often, your body will feel it.

I’m not asking for the NFL to play 50 games. I’m asking for one more game halfway through the season, I’m asking for 17 games. Give these guys an All Star break.

There won’t be any defense until the fourth quarter. It will just be exciting and electrifying plays for the fans. That’s all they really want.

Does anyone watch the NBA All-Star Game for a good matchup? No. We watch it to see a dream team that will never exist elsewhere. We watch it to see Chris Paul lob the ball to James Harden. We watch it to see LeBron throw the ball to the perimeter for Carmelo to shoot a three.

Why can’t we have this in football?

I want to live in a world where I can see Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy in the backfield together for one game a year.

Am I really asking for that much? No, no I am not.

So please, give me an NFL All-Star Game that everyone will watch.

Millions tune in to watch the NBA All Star Weekend. Millions tune in to watch the MLB All Star Game. Let’s add the NFL to that list.

There won’t be a dunk contest, but there could be a 40-yard dash contest, a one-handed catch contest, and a throwing contest.

Basically, it could be a casual combine. I mean, why not?

Do it for the fans. Bring the Pro Bowl back to life. Honestly, the NFL could use all the good press it can get right now.

For football fans, the week preceding the super bowl is the worst. The various media outlets are trying to force narratives, like how this week’s weather will effect next week’s game—here’s a hint, it probably won’t. Or the fact that the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is still apologizing for his post-game interview. Or it could just be as simple as the potential for one of the best Super Bowls of all time.

But no worries, the NFL is serving an underwhelming appetizer - the Pro Bowl.

Yes, the Pro Bowl, where the NFL’s best - except for the players that have declined to go, are injured or those who are in next week’s super bowl - take a trip to Hawaii and play a meaningless game.

The Pro Bowl is not known for producing a captivating game. The game is watered down with a lack of defense.

However, this year is supposed to be different. In an effort to make the game better, this year’s Pro Bowl is fantasy football style with un-conferenced team.

The NFL chose former superstars Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice to pick the teams. Will this year’s game be any better than previous games? Probably not but let’s compare offenses.

Quarterbacks

Team Rice: Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers and Alex Smith

Team Sanders: Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Nick Foles

Edge: Team Rice. Two of Team Rice’s quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers, rank in the top five in passing touchdowns and top ten in passing yards. While Team Sanders’ Nick Foles is the only quarterback on the squad in the top ten in passing touchdowns. Team Sanders doesn’t have a quarterback in the top ten in passing yards.

Running Backs

Team Rice: LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte

Team Sanders: Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy and Alfred Morris

Edge: Slight edge Team Rice. While McCoy and Forte led the league in rushing yards, Charles and Morris follow in third and fourth, respectively. However, Team Sanders’ running backs scored a combined 30 TDs, three more than Team Rice. The deciding factor was fumbles - Team Sanders out-fumbled Team Rice 10-5.

Wide Receivers

Team Rice: Larry Fitzgerald, Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall

Team Sanders: Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, AJ Green and Desean Jackson

Edge: None. Both of these teams are equal at the wide receiver spot. Team Sanders’ receivers scored one more combined touchdown than Team Rice’s receivers, 41-40. Seven of the eight Pro Bowl receivers accumulated over a thousand yards receiving, Larry Fitzgerald was the only receiver without a thousand receiving yards.

Tight Ends

Team Rice: Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez

Team Sanders: Jordan Cameron and Jason Witten

Edge: Team Rice. Jimmy Graham alone scored sixteen touchdowns, Jordan Cameron and Jason Witten combined to score fifteen TDs this past season. Tony Gonzalez adds an additional eight touchdowns to Team Rice.

Pick: Team Rice 56 Team Sanders 52

Former Texas quarterback Vince Young worked out at this year’s Pro Day in hopes of earning a spot on an NFL roster.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

How could a quarterback who’s won 62 percent of his starts, played twice in the Pro Bowl and been named Rookie of the Year not earn a place in the NFL?

Since leading the Longhorns to a national title in 2005, Vince Young went 31-19 as a starter in the NFL, led seven fourth-quarter comebacks and racked up more than 10,000 yards of offense.

After stints in Tennessee, Philadelphia, Pa. and Buffalo, N.Y., however, Young found himself without a job. His financial woes became public. But the same guy who threw his jersey in the stands, called the Eagles a “dream team” and was released by the Bills last August wants back in the NFL.

“You can’t hold that against him,” former Texas safety Michael Griffin, Young’s teammate in college and the NFL, said. “He’s a great football player. It’s not like he hurt anybody or anything. You see players in the league that have done crazy things that still get opportunities.”

There are always teams looking for help under center in the NFL. If they know what’s good for them, they’ll take a long, hard look at Young.

“I was talking to him at practice one day and we didn’t have a quarterback to throw for the guys [at Pro Day],” head coach Mack Brown said. “I told him this is something you oughta do. Go work out. Go show them that you’re in great shape and that you’re not laying around pouting. Show them that you’re upbeat, positive, a leader and that you want another chance.”

The former Longhorns star and No. 3 overall pick completed 40 of 44 passes at Texas’ Pro Day on Tuesday, two of which were dropped and another two of which were overthrown. He appeared to be in great shape and seemed to be the same, loose, carefree guy that took down USC eight years ago.

“Teams have been quiet,” Young’s agent, Jerry Marlatt, said. “We should be hearing more from them between now and May 1. Between April and May, that’s when things usually pick up … He’s been working really hard.”

Young’s physical tools are there. And with guys like Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick making the zone-read, which Young perfected while at Texas, more popular in the NFL, Young’s chances of getting back in the league are given a much-needed boost.

“It makes all the difference in the world,” Brown said. “Here’s a guy that made a living with the zone-read, play-action pass, boots and nakeds and all the things that a Russell Wilson or a RG3 or a Kaepernick or luck does. I thought he came out a little ahead of his offense and now his offense is catching up.”

When Young first entered the NFL, quarterbacks that could throw and run weren’t trusted as much as they are now. But none of that matters.

Because there’s one thing that NFL teams care about more than anything, one thing Young’s always been able to do — he can win.