Today’s post is going to be a bit different than usual. This weekend we have the pro bowl, the annual recognition of achievement mixed with a popularity contest. Voting ended in December and if your favorite player is in then great! Personally I find the whole concept flawed. Football is a pressure sport. You either perform or you don’t. The team that makes more key plays is the one that usually wins. Simple right? Ratchet up the intensity and you’ve got the playoffs. Each year in the playoffs guys step up or fall apart. It’s such an important part of the game and it’s left out of the pro bowl by deciding rosters before the playoffs begin.
Let’s look at a couple of examples – I’m not a Giants fan. Victor Cruz wasn’t a starting WR on the opening day roster. I would wager any follower of the playoffs would agree that the Giants would not be where they are now without Cruz’s efforts as the year ended. Greg Jennings by comparison looked rusty coming back from injury and was part of an entire receiving corps collapse vs. the Giants. It felt like they dropped more than they caught and it contributed to the overall out of synch that took over the Packers and the Packers lost.
Another example is at the tight end position. Gates is in, Gronkowski is in but is only recognized because he’s in the superbowl (yeah!). Gates had a good year but not his best year by far. Hernandez of the Pats had more yards and the same TDs playing with Gronkowski. Dustin Keller of the Jets (yeah, I know the Jets) had more yards and two less touchdowns. Germain Gresham had 2/3rd the yards of Keller and one less TD. I’m happy for him but which player is better? Same thing on the NFC tight end list. I am a big fan of Gonzalez but he was outplayed by Witten (Dallas) if we just look at statistics. In a year where the tight end was revolutionized, I agree on some players but what about Vernon Davis’s performance against the saints? Was he more clutch than Graham in the big game? I’d say yes and shouldn’t that factor?
The game doesn’t impact any other aspect of the NFL. Some years so many players bow out due to injury that we’re left with the third alternate. I do like that it’s played in Hawaii and I think that this tradition, like the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving should not be changed. I would love to see the pro bowl be played as part of the hall of fame induction weekend and that the voting for players be done after the super bowl. I’d watch that game.
If you’ve read this far, thanks. This blog has been about beer and food for the season and I’m going to bring it back to beer and food. Tonight is a great night to take your significant other out to dinner. I recommend Firefly in Manchester or Tavern in Bedford as great places to get White Birch on draft with great food. If not those great establishments, then your or your significant other’s favorite place is great. After all, our significant others have put up with our football season antics and they have one more big day of football next weekend to make it through.