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The Super Bowl’s Opening Act: The Pro Bowl – SportsUntapped.com
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Added January 31st, 2010 by David Glisan

The Super Bowl’s Opening Act:  The Pro Bowl
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Every football fan knows that the Pro Bowl is the most irrelevant all star game of any major sport.  The NBA and NHL All Star games aren’t exactly serious athletic competitions, but they can be high scoring and entertaining shootouts.  Baseball likely has the best All Star game almost by default.  It’s at least got some decent history to it, and there’s at least a reason the teams want to win.  The winning league in baseball’s All Star game gets home field advantage during the World Series.  It’s kind of a silly way to determine something important like home field advantage, but at least the game isn’t meaningless.

The Pro Bowl, on the other hand, really doesn’t have much of anything going for it.  It’s basically a pro football game minus hitting and run at half speed–in other words, it lacks the very things that make NFL football interesting in the first place.  This year in an effort to drum up interest the NFL has moved the Pro Bowl up two weeks and relocated it from its usual venue in Hawaii to the host city of the Superbowl, in this case Miami.

This has created its own set of problems.  First of all, a lot of the players are burnt that they don’t even get a Hawaiian vacation out of the deal anymore. Furthermore, since many of them were planning to be in Miami for the Superbowl anyway it means they can’t really enjoy their ‘vacation’ since they have to go through the motions of practicing and preparing for the game.  Moving the event up has also hurt participation, since many players are still banged up from the grueling NFL season.

Another problem is that there are two teams still in serious preparation mode–the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.  The NFL has strongly suggested that the Pro Bowl players from the Colts and Saints show up at the events and glad hand all of the corporate sponsors and assorted luminaries even if they’re not playing in the game.  As a result, the Pro Bowl lineup will be weaker than it usually is–as of this writing 31 players have dropped out of the game or respectfully declined the invite including 11 players on the two Superbowl teams.

The biggest problem with playing the Pro Bowl the week before the Superbowl may be less obvious.  The Pro Bowl will be contested on the same field as the Superbowl, but the NFL isn’t going to replace the turf between games.  This means that the grass field at Sun Life Stadium could be in less than ideal shape for the actual Superbowl.  There’s a lot of thunderstorms forecast for the week before the game, and this could further undermine its condition.  Remember this point, as we’ll talk about it later when we get into the actual Superbowl bets.

All in all, the Superbowl is kind of an irrelevant waste of time for players and fans alike.  That’s nothing new, but the changes that the NFL has made this year only adds to the irrelevance.

 
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