Aaron Rodgers bummed by NFC's effort
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The Pro Bowl is meant for the hard-core NFL fans and it would be a mistake to make major changes to the all-star game, John Clayton writes. Mailbag
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about the quality of the Pro Bowl after Aaron Rodgers' comments. He tried to sidestep the question but admitted "what it was and what it is now is a lot different," Mike Sando writes. Blog
"I'll be honest with you," Rodgers said on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee. "I was a little bit disappointed. I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed themselves."
The AFC routed the NFC 59-41 in a game that drew boos at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu for its lack of early intensity. Rodgers, who started and played the first quarter for the NFC, didn't name specific players.
"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," Rodgers said.
Avoiding injuries in a meaningless all-star game is a high priority for many players. Rodgers, however, said that playing half-speed isn't the answer.
"I've always found that when you're going that tempo, that's when the injuries are going to happen, not if you're going full speed," Rodgers told ESPN 540. "You're more likely to get an injury standing around a pile or just going through it half-speed."
Some New England Patriots players said Wednesday that going full-speed in the game is a risky proposition. Players from the Super Bowl teams do not play in the game but still collect the game check based on their conference's result. AFC Pro Bowl players received $50,000 for the win, while NFC players were paid $25,000.
I was a little bit disappointed. I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed themselves.” -- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
on players' effort in Pro Bowl
Guard Logan Mankins, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, said Wednesday that he doubts there's a realistic way to ramp up competitiveness.
"I don't know how you fix it," Mankins said. "You're going to give a little effort, but you're not going to get out of control. Some guys are free agents over there. You get hurt in a Pro Bowl and it's going to affect that contract with another team. Who would want to get hurt in a Pro Bowl and not be able to play the next season?"
Nose tackle Vince Wilfork, also a four-time Pro Bowl choice, said playing cautiously was the best approach.
"Guys play a full season, they play physical through a full season, and you get rewarded," Wilfork said. "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."
On Wednesday, Rodgers poked fun at his criticism of the Pro Bowl via Twitter.
His tweet: "Just read this quote by Bruce Lee, 'the less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be'. Maybe I was wrong about the pro bowl?"
Rodgers wasn't the only representative of the NFL to rip the quality of play in Sunday's game. NFL Network analyst and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders tweeted his dismay at the effort during Sunday's game.
"I apologize on behalf of the NFL. This pro bowl is ridiculous. All the lineman cut deals with each other to go easy and everyone else did 2," he wrote.
"The speed of the game was like a walk-through," Keisel told Pro Football Talk earlier this week. "Or a jog-through. They probably should have just put flags on them. It might have been more entertaining to see if they can get the flags off."
The site of the 2013 game is yet to be determined.
Kevin Seifert covers the NFC North for ESPN.com. ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando contributed to this report.
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