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Pro Bowl Not Exactly All-Star Game

With the new version of pro football's version of their All-Star Game, there have been so many additions and deletions that you'll definitely need a program to figure out who some of the guys are on the field today. For the first time, the game is being played the week before the Super Bowl, and in Miami rather than Hawaii no less. While both decisions are not popular with the players, the fans must approve as they will be attending in record numbers, which certainly makes the league happy.

It's nowhere near the incentive for the players to get rewarded with an all-expenses paid trip to South Florida compared to the same to Hawaii. However, many are able to have more friends and fans watch them play.

That is, if they decide to play.

In the past when the game was in Hawaii, most players would definitely accept the honor of being selected unless there was an injury that prohibited them from competing. At the same time, there have been years when the game was in Hawaii that a decent number of players have still needed to be replaced for various reasons.

Today, due to the Super Bowl being played next week, there are fourteen players on the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints alone that were selected to the team but are unable to play. In addition, 33 other players were replaced, mostly due to injuries, according to a story in Friday's edition of USA Today. That's 47 players, not all starters though, but 47 players out of approximately the 100 selected that it would take to fill out both conferences rosters. Not exactly the turnout the league and certainly the fans want to see for what is essentially a worthless game anyway.

In baseball, their All-Star game now determines home field advantage for the World Series. there is nothing riding on the NFL's version. Perhaps all future player contracts that include incentive clauses for additional money for Pro Bowl selections should stipulate that the player must play in the game in order to receiver the bonus, injury or not. That would almost certainly garner their attention and make the decision a bit more difficult.

There are a lot of players who are honored to be selected and plan to play (such as Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice) regardless of the money or the location. However, there are way too many players who have chosen not to play for questionable reasons and for this to stop, something has to change, be it the location, money or other incentives including making changes to the game itself.