The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Pro Bust

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Let's be honest, very few people care about the Pro Bowl. That would include me. I've long failed to see the relevance of the game. There's more intrigue over who's actually named to the teams than who actually plays in the game. The Super Bowl was an exciting game with memorable plays and a thrilling fourth quarter. Pittsburgh won its sixth Super Bowl. That's how the 2008 season should end. That should be the final game of the season.

But, the season's not over. The annual Hawaiian powwow promoted as an NFL all-star game is still to come. Here's just a couple problems with the game: There's no incentive as to who wins. Some of the guys don't play. Half the rules are altered to prevent injury. It has the feel of a glorified flag football game. It's too vacation-like an atmosphere coming too quickly after the Super Bowl. It just feels out of place.

I know the league will be moving the Pro Bowl to the future Super Bowl cities and have the game played a week before the Big Game. In theory, it makes sense since people might actually care to watch for a few extra minutes. It could add to the buildup for the following week's championship. Plus, it would most likely attract a variety of fan bases to the Super Bowl city and improve businesses. But still, the players selected from the Super Bowl teams won't be able to play. Players who were recently eliminated from the post-season might not want to participate or might be too banged up.

Every other major league sport has an all-star game, so obviously, America's most popular sport has to have one. But the others are in the middle of the season, one of them even has playoff implications. You just can't do that in football. What if a star player gets hurt? The league just can't take that risk.

The Pro Bowl is well-intentioned, but doomed to fail and fall below fan expectations. It will stay that way no matter the date or venue. I would just keep the game as is -- as an exhibition after the season ends. And keep it in Hawaii. That will maintain the appropriate off-season feel already in place and it will serve as a sensible lead into the baseball season.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  February 6, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  NFL , Zach Leibowitz Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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