Wyatt Cushman, Staff Writer |
The NFL Pro Bowl is always a fun time for everyone. The best players from the league get together in a beautiful place to play some games with one another. Everyone is relaxed, the media isn’t asking those intense questions that are typical during the regular and postseasons, and all the players forget past battles with one another and just have fun. While the Pro Bowl is fun, does it matter?
The Pro Bowl, much like the NBA All-Star Game and the MLB All-Star Game, doesn’t mean anything for teams as far as seasonal standings are concerned. The MLB recently changed what implications the All-Star Game had on the end of the season and the World Series. The winning league used to have home field advantage in the World Series, but that is no longer the case. The Pro Bowl in the NFL happens at the end of the season, and the Super Bowl is always played at a neutral site, so the Pro Bowl has no meaning for the teams that are left playing for the Lombardi Trophy. In terms of meaningful games, the Pro Bowl is at the bottom of that list.
Furthermore, the Pro Bowl can hurt the players involved. Football is a very physically demanding and intense sport, and while the Pro Bowl doesn’t require players to go 100 percent, the risk of injury is still there. Take an ACL injury for example; many players suffer these injuries, often without any contact to the knee or leg. This could happen to any player who is making a cut or jumping to make a catch. Imagine if this player were to suffer a significant injury to his knee; he would certainly miss some of the next season, if not all of it, and his team would be left without one of its best players. All of this over a meaningless game that does nothing for the franchise or the players involved. Fortunately, no serious injuries occurred at this year’s Pro Bowl, but this could easily happen to any of the athletes who participate.
The only real incentive for the players who make it to the Pro Bowl is money. Making it to the Pro Bowl is an honor, and players are rewarded for being named to “All Star” teams. Every single player is paid a certain amount for playing. The winning team received close to $70,000 in 2018, and the losing teams earned nearly $35,000. That would be a substantial amount of money for any normal human being, however for these players this kind of money has a minimal impact on their lives. The players already make millions of dollars every year, so $70,000 is nothing. So while the Pro Bowl does give these players a little extra cash, they could survive just fine without it.
Other than entertainment, and for some fun at the end of the season, the Pro Bowl doesn’t have much of an impact on these players lives and on the lives of fans. If your team is in the Super Bowl, then you don’t have anyone to root for in the Pro Bowl, and some fans won’t watch because they are still getting over their teams’ devastating playoff loss. If everyone stays healthy then this game is worth playing, but if not, there are really no advantages in playing or having this game take place.