Television ratings for the annual all-star game have remained relatively strong, but the product does nothing to enhance the NFL's brand, in my view. The drama and strategy that make real games compelling cannot exist in a Pro Bowl context.
The NFL Players Association has promoted continuing the game, calling it an important tradition. I get it, but elite players worried about risking injuries unnecessarily should welcome the news.
"Guys play a full season, they play physical through a full season, and you get rewarded," the New England Patriots' Vince Wilfork said during Super Bowl week. "The last thing you want to do is go out in a game like that and hurt yourself. That is not good for the individual or for the organization."
Wilfork's coach, Bill Belichick, responded humorously when asked about Aaron Rodgers' complaints that the 2012 Pro Bowl had become even more farcical than its predecessors. It was clear Belichick thought poorly of what the game had become.
"I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed themselves," Rodgers told ESPN 540 in Milwaukee. "I was just surprised that some of the guys either didn't want to play or when they were in there didn't put any effort into it."
There should be no faking tackle football. It's a game best played with emotion and with something at stake beyond the potential for injury.