With the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl coming up this Sunday, the players you will see on the field will nowhere near resemble the specific players originally voted in as starters for both the AFC and NFC. Other than the players on the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, who have the best excuse in the world for not being able to attend, the only other normally acceptable reason for not attending has always been injury-related.
Full coverage: Super Bowl 2013, Ravens vs. 49ers
However, nowadays, players are coming up with other excuses, or basically, no excuse at all, other than, "No thanks, I'm not interested in playing in your little game!"
Six players on the Baltimore Ravens (Ray Rice, Vonta Leach, Marshal Yanda, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed, Jacoby Jones) are not in Hawaii as members of the AFC squad, as they will be headed to New Orleans to play in Super Bowl XLVII. Likewise, nine members on the San Francisco 49ers are in the same predicament.
Sadly, there are 14 other players selected to the Pro Bowl who have declined for a variety of reasons ranging from the legitimate (injury) to the unacceptable (apathy). Players on both of the losing teams in the two conference championship games have turned down their invites, giving the impression of sour grapes, in that, "if we can't go to the Super Bowl, we don't want to play in THAT game!"
This had led to 29 players having to be added to both conference teams as replacements for those either playing in the Super Bowl or having other reasons not to attend, stretching the meaning of the game as a true "All-Star" game.
In the past, the game was looked at as such an honor, much less a free trip to Hawaii, and virtually every player who was selected showed, excited to play and be among their peers. Enjoy this game, as the obvious nonchalant attitude to attending as well as the laid-back level of play resulting in ridiculously high scores, could result in pro football's all-star game becoming a thing of the past.