NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual state of the league address is set for Friday, and he’s certainly not lacking for serious subject matter. But somewhere down the list, below such topics as the long-term effects of concussions, a potential 18-game schedule, and yes, deer-antler spray, is the status of the Pro Bowl.
While it’s not a pressing matter, it’s a fascinating one. The Pro Bowl is often derided as an inconsequential game played at half-speed because its participants are more focused on getting through it unscathed than actually winning. Such accusations are mostly just, as are those that suggest it doesn’t matter to many players beyond a free trip to Hawaii. Twenty-nine players on this year’s AFC and NFC squads were replacements for selections who bowed out for one reason or another.