NFL Pro Bowl: Something Must Change to Make Game Better

Jan 25, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil (58) during the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil (58) during the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The addition of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil and several other players to the Pro Bowl rosters prove why it is the worst all-star game in professional sports.

Congratulations to Elvis Dumervil on being named to the NFL Pro Bowl. Just do not add me as one that thinks he should be headed there.

It is the fifth trip to Honolulu for Dumervil. He will replace Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis on the roster as Davis is one of 10 Panthers that will not play in the game because they have something a bit more important to play for. Even if Davis was not playing in the Super Bowl, he would not play in the game because of a broken arm.

Dumervil finished the season with just six sacks after totaling 17 in 2014, a season that was deserving of the Pro Bowl nod. The problem with the Ravens most of this season was that they could not generate a consistent pass rush. Doom only recorded six tackles and failed to record a sack in the final five games. His best effort came in a two-sack game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it was also his face mask penalty that cost the Ravens the game. Someone explain to me why he is being honored as one of the NFL’s best this season?

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  • There are several players around the league that are more deserving than Dumervil. Connor Barwin, Julius Peppers and Whitney Mercilus are just three guys at the same position that should get the recognition. Hell, I’ve said all along that the best player on the Ravens defense is Brandon Williams and he won’t be enjoying the beaches of Hawaii.

    This is not an attack on Doom. I do think he is a very good player, but had an average season. He took on a bigger role in the defense once Terrell Suggs went down and could not make the same impact. The numbers show he was not as dominant this season and should not be heading to the game.

    What really angers me is the NFL allows the Pro Bowl rosters to get so depleted that they are forced to pick players who are not worthy of the honor. Fourteen players will not play because they’ll be playing in the Super Bowl. Many knew this was possible when the larger number of Panthers were named to the roster.

    The problem is another 19 will not play because of injuries or personal reasons. Two names really stick out that will no longer play: Tom Brady and Carson Palmer. Last time I saw both players they looked healthy enough to finish their games on Sunday. To take it a step further, Stephen Gostkowski will not play in the game. I guess he got hurt when he missed the extra point that ultimately cost the New England Patriots the game.

    Brady and Palmer are not the quarterbacks to say that they will not play as Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger will also not participate. This is what irks me most about the entire situation. Those players need to be replaced, and the replacements just are not worthy of the “honor” of being named to the Pro Bowl. I like Tyrod Taylor, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. All are good players. Just do not tell me that Jameis Winston deserves to be there. 

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    Some argue that the players do not want to get hurt in a meaningless game and that’s why they do not play hard or care if they do not attend. If players think it is meaningless, do not add the clause in the contract that a Pro Bowl berth earns you a bonus. They are paid for the honor so the least they could do is play hard. Not only that, players like Winston will receive that bonus of being named to the Pro Bowl. I’m sure some NFL owners are not happy that they have to pay a Pro Bowl bonus for the fifth alternate in the game.

    This brings us to the question of why does the NFL bother to play the game if no one takes it seriously?

    I am not sure what can be done to make the game more enjoyable. I was a fan of the skill competitions, but the NFL has been without them since 2007. With all the attention that fans give to the NFL Combine and the drills, you would think the interest would be somewhat similar in these skill competitions. Who would not want to see Patrick Peterson and Antonio Brown in a 40-yard race? Or even a Rob Gronkowski versus Travis Kelce race? Sign me up for a hands competition between Larry Fitzgerald, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham. Let’s find out which offensive or defensive lineman can put up the most bench presses.

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    The NBA All-Star Weekend is the best event of the four major sports. They do still have the skill competitions, headlined by the dunk contest.Major League Baseball has placed some importance on their game. The NHL keeps evolving with its game to make it better. That is a model that the NFL should follow. Find something that gets both the players and fans engaged.

    Or the NFL can keep going with the same, which is a lackluster effort from players who could make the game really good. And if you could not tell already, I will not be watching the Pro Bowl.