Have you noticed? The NFL has been tweaking the Pro Bowl every year, it seems.
Once upon a time, it was held after the Super Bowl, and in those days, the Super Bowl contenders were able to play. No one watched it. We were done with football by then.
Even before that, they played the Pro Bowl somewhere besides Hawaii. No one cared where it was. We weren't watching it.
In 1980 (and with some exceptions), the Pro Bowl was moved to Hawaii so fans could see beautiful tropical scenery in the dead of winter. The NFL might have claimed a different reason, but ratings were the true culprit.
And they put it smack dab between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl in 2009, hoping we fans would still be deeply entrenched in "football mode." But as is happened, we weren't. Not enough, anyway. We still weren't watching.
This year, the NFL has done it again. A new tweak. They've "un-conferenced" the Pro Bowl. They even had a draft. In the excitement of fantasy football, who doesn't love a draft?
Apparently, we don't. We still aren't watching.
It's the same with the all star games in other sports. When I was in high school, I was such a big baseball fan, that I tried to watch the all-star game. I put it on TV and went about my business, coming into the room when Dykstra or Ozzie Smith were up to bat. But to sit down and watch the game? Well...
There's a reason for that. Rarely do you find a true fan of "the game." Because once a sport finds our heart, we need to pick someone to cheer for. There's no point in watching unless you are watching someone do something amazing, something you can't do. You see one or two people perform spectacular feats, and you are hooked. Those athletes are really something. Let's watch them beat everyone else.
You say you love the sport, but really, you love winning. If you watch a game, you have to pick someone to win. It's not exciting if you don't. The more that team wins, the more exciting it gets, because you can keep watching them in the post-season. We're hooked on the winning adrenaline.
That's why pre-season games aren't that exciting if it's not your team you're watching. It's too early to tell who's going to be important later in the season when it really counts. But that's a different rant. Let's get back to the point.
Once the Pro Bowl is over... yea. OK, what now? There's nowhere to go after you win the Pro Bowl.
Or, there's the other reason you're hooked on a team. It's the home team. That's all everyone at work talks about on Monday morning, and you want to know what they're talking about. (This explains how the Browns, Bucs, and Jags have fans.) You watch the home team, you get to know them, and suddenly you're part of the team. You're the 12th man.
So, if you rip our team apart, if you take our favorite players and mix them in with players we hate the other 364 days of the year, we don't really know what to do. We don't go in to work the next day and say, "How 'bout that AFC?" So why bother?
So here we go:
You can move the Pro Bowl to the most beautiful place on earth (you did that), you can interrupt our cheering season (you did that too), and you can even give us a draft (sorry, I missed it, but I know there was one.) But we're just not going to watch the Pro Bowl.
An Eagles fan
T.C. Slonaker, Eagles fan
Sports Made Simple!