Patrick Mahomes and Jamal Adams

USA Today

2019 Pro Bowl

The Pro Bowl is bad, but it's not going away.

January 28, 2019 - 9:18 am
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Super Bowl week is full of traditions and rhythms. Certain things happen at certain times throughout the week. And Monday is the day for complaining about the Pro Bowl. It’s a tradition unlike any other.

And that Pro Bowl yesterday was unlike any other. That wasn’t a football game that was a circus in a football stadium. And I’m guessing that you’re expecting me to come in here and smash the Pro Bowl, to say as I’ve said many times before, it just needs to be taken out back and shot. Probably looking for me to tell you the game was bad and it was embarrassing. It was all of those things. In other words, it was the Pro Bowl.

You had running backs rushing the passer. Defensive backs at wide receiver, wide receivers at defensive back. Melvin Ingram and Melvin Gordon getting the same number of carries. And it’s all happening in the pouring rain.

I’m not even going to throw to highlights because there weren’t highlights. Because if you already saw it, you don’t want to see it again. And if you haven’t seen it, you’re lucky.

That means if you weren’t already scarred by the interceptions that led to laterals that led to nowhere, you won’t need to start your week by suffering that pain now.

Look, I get it. And I get what everyone involved was going for with the Pro Bowl. The coaches want the players to have fun. And the players want to do things they haven’t done since high school, like rush the passer or work on their backpedal, but, man, that is brutal to watch.

About the only highlight from the game was Patrick Mahomes dropping an f-bomb after not converting on fourth down. And I loved that. That shows how competitive he is. He’s playing in a carnival disguised as a football game and he’s still getting bent because he wants to win.

Well, that and Jets safety Jamal Adams attacking the game like it was a Patriots mascot. Adams and Mahomes were the only guys who really tried anything, and of course, they were named MVPs of the game.

And the only thing more Pro Bowl than the Pro Bowl itself was the Pro Bowl trophy presentation. And that’s when Jason Witten broke the trophy. Went to hand it to Adams and Mahomes and just ripped the top right off it.

Now that’s so Pro Bowl it hurts. That’s Peak Pro Bowl.

I’ve said for years that they should end the Pro Bowl, but they won’t. And I get it. Enough people keep watching it that it makes sense to keep doing it.

But that doesn’t mean it was good. The Pro Bowl is an annual test of the theory that football is like pizza and there’s no such thing as bad football or bad pizza.

But here’s the other thing: there is no perfect version of the Pro Bowl. That if they just made this twist or that tweak, it would be fine. It won’t. They’ve tried every tweak and every adjustment that there is. The fundamental problem is that across sports, all-star games aren’t good games. When was the last time you said, damn, that was a good NBA All-Star Game? Did you see the way the guys buckled down on defense? Answer: never.

The closest thing to a decent All-Star game is the MLB All-Star game and that’s because it’s the closest thing to a regular game.

You shouldn’t be going into an All-Star game or a Pro Bowl expecting to see a great game. You’re going to see stars. That’s it. They should take the word “game” out of the title of every All-star Game and Pro Bowl game. It’s not a game. It’s a collection of all-stars and the number one goal is to not get hurt. As it should be.

The last thing you want to do is try to make the Pro Bowl into a real game and have someone get a real injury. Juju Smith-Schuster’s knee yesterday was close enough.

You can’t make it into a real game, because it’s not a real game. Nor should it be. And if the players like it, and they aren’t getting hurt, and enough people are watching it, and they aren’t getting hurt too badly, then it’s going to keep happening.

The Pro Bowl is bad, but it's not going away.