Sell it or quit
The idiocy of the NFL and the belief that this meaningless postseason nonsense of the Pro Bowl , actually provides the fans with any real excitement , must now stop. This year’s spectacle has two NFL Hall of Fame greats in Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders facing off against each other , as the opposing general managers or what one might deem or whatever. The fact that Roger Goodell has countenanced this idiocy and both former players, are trying sell this event as something special , has merely indicated that the NFL no longer has any idea how to make this spectacle actually worthwhile. There were strong indications that the league, simply wanted to do away with the game, altogether . Yet , such has been the avarice of the owners and league hierarchy, that common sense and intelligence, now seems to beyond the commissioner and the executives within the league’s headquarters.
As to the game, with Sanders suggesting that he might even suit up and take to the field , has me wondering if a player once described as the best shutdown corner ever to play the game, is actually ready to take on players who are considerably quicker than Deion Sanders in his very prime , albeit that the game itself will be less than competitive ! While, I do not doubt that the talent of Sanders at his very best , I simply believe that he was able to create a persona that the fans and press simply bought into , nothing more and nothing less !
Jerry Rice is now beginning to realize that he cannot hold a candle to Sanders’ charisma, while trying to sell the Pro Bowl as something of a very special event on the NFL calendar. In dispersed between the AFC and NFC championship games , were it not for the fact that there is a two-week break between those two conference games and the Superbowl itself , I seriously doubt that there would be any real interest in the Pro Bowl ! It is now bad enough that the league is now trying to sell the fact that by quite possibly having perhaps at least two regular season games played beyond the continental United States, would be of benefit of the NFL as a brand globally.
What we now know to be true is the fact that the league has reached saturation point within the North American market and the only way to increase its revenues will be to expand beyond these shores . With offices now in London , Rotterdam , Munich , Paris and with the NFL now looking to make inroads into the Pan Pacific basin. It would not be beyond the realm of possibility of the league, seeking to open an office in Tokyo , Japan and Beijing, China . Needless to say, with over 1.8 billion people in those two countries alone , who are already passionate about the game of soccer, and having seen the success of the NBA and the consumers’ awareness of players such as Kobe Bryant , LeBron James and before the two current idols of the NBA. There was of course, Michael Jordan and the player’s charisma that made the NBA brand , a worldwide global phenomenon, along with Jordan being seen as a marketing icons’ dream. The NFL sees the dividends, that can be reaped from the game’s base broadened to capture the world stage and compete with the inroads made by Major League Baseball and the NBA .
The signs have been there for far too long as to the declining popularity of the NFL’s Pro Bowl game along with many of the players’ own declining interest to be willing participants . Many of them, simply know even after a long arduous regular season schedule , one meaningless contest , simply is not worth it, at all. Furthermore , even with monetary incentives being part of their contracts, merely being chosen and placed on the roster for the game , there are not actually losing out financially , even if they do not make an appearance in the game , itself . And one wonders why there remains a lowering of the fans’ interest in the event , even when the NFL Commissioner and the league hierarchy continue to laud the praises of a meaningless postseason event , that is just not popular with the fans? There may well be an economic impact for the state of Hawaii, but specifically , the island of Honolulu, where the game is usually staged on an annual basis. At the end of the day, does anyone remember or care who won , much less , who the Pro Bowl MVP winner just happened to be ?
With the proposed changes being made as to the lineups for the rosters , with both Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders making their choices of players due to be part of their respective rosters . This is simply, a draft geeks’ ultimate dream of sorts. Gimmick or not, I seriously doubt, that this is likely to change, how this game will be viewed in the eyes of the fans or the public in general!
As to the expected highlights, from this upcoming game, what should the fans be hoping to witness ? I will let you all be the judge of that, because as I have alluded to before, this is simply a game whose popularity continues to decline at an alarming rate and the league hierarchy suddenly realizes like everything else over the past few seasons . The changes made , this latest foray , might not be enough to actually deter the fans from simply abandoning the Pro Bowl altogether . The NFL brand will continue to remain popular , just as long as a number of teams, continue to remain relevant , along with the league’s more high-profiled players , still playing at a competitive level . I firmly believe however, the NFL either has to abandon its postseason tradition of the Pro Bowl or simply make it the type of event, that will actually draw the fans , rather than it being another novelty act, wherein the main profiteers from it all, are simply the players from a financial standpoint and many of the league’s corporate sponsors .
Since Roger Goodell succeeded Paul Tagliabue as the NFL Commissioner , there can no denying that he has had his fair share of pratfalls . Many of them , of his own making and without him showing to possess great communicative skills . This blunder on the part of the NFL owners in believing that Tagliabue’s heir-apparent was the right choice a well-respected leader , was simply done out of the fact, that the league wanted someone who would tow their line and be solely in obeisance to them. How Goodell has sought to handle the issues of steroids , HGH, and the ongoing ramifications of the league’s billion dollar settlement with veteran and recently retired NFL players , has indicated to me , that the incumbent commissioner, has been clearly out of his depth and the poor counseling he has received from legal advisers, Jeff Pash and Adolphus Birch III , along with Goodell’s wish to stamp his own identity upon the NFL , has been one of the primary reasons why he has become so loathed by fans around the league ! Add in the fact, what many believe have been his poor handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty-gate scandal, his lack of candor in addressing why a policy agreed to, ratified and voted upon by the NFPLA (union) as to the league’s proposed mandatory testing for HGH , and you have the real evidence that Roger Goodell , as an individual , who simply has remained in office , possessing a level incompetency , without any tangible accomplishments throughout his entire tenure , thus far . All he can simply point to during his reign , has been the NFL’s growing revenues , the value of the league’s franchises and very little else beyond that.
The NFL Draft may well be , but a few months away and yet there already seems to be a great deal of speculation , as to who the number one overall draft pick ought to be . Many believe that South Carolina’s defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney , ought to be the choice of the Houston Texans , who will have the privilege of taking that pick. Clearly , with the Texans having defensive woes for the past two seasons , even in spite of the presence of JJ Watt . Something has to be done to shore up a defense that was simply one of the worst in the NFL throughout much of last season .
As good as Clowney appears to be , I do not believe that he alone can simply turn around a franchise that during 2013 , managed to have an eleven-game losing streak , as well as showing very few signs of leadership , either on or off the field of play while Gary Kubiak led this team , as their head coach. Kubiak and his assistants showed very little creativity and though quarterback Matt Schaub spent a great deal of time on the injured reserve list , that in no way excuses the repeated poor performances exhibited by the team over the course of the season.
The needs of the Texans, are many, both within their offense and the secondary . Kubiak’s successor Bill O’Brien, has seen fit, to stamp his own identity upon this team. O’Brien, the former Penn State head coach , as well the former offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots , has already brought about a number of moves, that leads me to believe that he will be more aggressive a head coach, than his predecessor. Houston’s new incumbent head coach during the off-season is said to have shown interest in pursuing Patriots’ backup quarterback Ryan Mallett , a player who he worked closely alongside, while on the coaching staff in New England. It seems apparent , that Bill O’Brien will seek to create an environment where Case Keenum and Mallett are in competition for the starting role as the Texans’ quarterback during the 2014-15 season. With that in mind, there is a clear case to be made that Matt Schaub will be on his way out , having served the franchise well , but whose lack of productivity in 2013 , as well as lack of leadership , can be seen as one of the many reasons for the franchise’s failures this past season. For the moment however, unless the Texans are able to sweeten the pot, in terms of their overtures to New England , it seems highly unlikely that Bill Belichick or the team’s offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel will allow the player to leave, without what they believe to be due compensation.
Robert “Bob” McNair, the Texans’ CEO and owner , along with GM Rick Smith , I truly believe blundered in prolonging the agony of having Gary Kubiak continue to coach the Texans , when it was clear that he had lost complete control of the team. Having replaced him with then defensive coordinator , Wade Philips , proved to be as effective as trying to fit a square peg into a round hole . Philips’ credentials as defensive coordinator are respectable and commendable , but I would hasten to add , his body of work , were it to include his coaching stops , would have you believing that he should have been able to at least have the team playing competitively under his short tenure as the interim head coach. That simply was not the case and one of the main reasons why , the Texans’ front office after a not too exhaustive search , got the best candidate they thought possible , in , Bill O’Brien. Now whether or not , he can bring the type coaching philosophy shown at Penn State , in order to turn things around , remains to be seen. This off-season with the NFL Draft and having to assess the overall state of the roster as to its most dire needs , will prove to be a true test of his acumen and indicate also the type of relationship he is likely to have with Rick Smith.
While I find the whole process of the NFL Draft intriguing, I also believe it to be an exercise that has the fans either extolling the virtues of the their team they support or simply believing the general managers and the head coaches to be bumbling idiots . Year in and year out, as a die-hard fan of the New England Patriots’ fan , my biggest wish, is to merely hope that they can make the right sort of moves that prove to be productive for the franchise. Their loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC championship game was another sign , that as great a coach as Bill Belichick is said to be, his arrogance and conceitedness seems to be just as large as his considerable ego . How else can you explain his reluctance to adapt his game plan, as the Broncos made great inroads in their conference championship contest . ? For Tom Brady, this particular postseason and the AFC championship game itself, simply was a microcosm of last season’s contest repeated all over again, in 2013 . Missed opportunities and errant plays , along with what I alluded to earlier , as being, Bill Belichick’s continued arrogance .
Picture gallery .
This NFL postseason, has been one of thrills and spills, with all that waits, being the climax of the league’s postseason foray. In terms of the NFL Pro Bowl , I will contend that it has become an event that the NFL will either have to revamp , making it far more exhilarating or simply doing away with the game altogether ! It has become meaningless , but yet no one has been willing to acknowledge that fact within the NFL’s inner circle and even amongst current and former players themselves . How best do you believe that the event (Pro Bowl) can be made more appealing for the fans and viewers in general ? Chime in, with your thoughts and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts is seen here taking in the scene alongside fellow players while in Kapolei , Hawaii on Wednesday , 22nd January , 2014. The quarterback will be making his second Pro Bowl appearance as a member of the Colts having made an appearance in 2012 , his rookie season. Michael Yanow /NFL.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved (2014)
(2) Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson ,left , is seen here with Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton . Both players were selected to the rosters of the 2014 Pro Bowl . The game itself will be played at the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, this upcoming Sunday, 26th January , 2014 ,. NFL.com / Michael Yanow …….
(3) Hall of Fame players Deion Sanders , left and Jerry Rice , are the two opposing captains for this season’s NFL Pro Bowl game. Both former stars made their choices as to the players filling their respective rosters not by allegiance to any conference or division , but simply based upon their preferences . Not much of a real novelty , but then again, it has to be seen as the latest in a line of gimmicks that the league may well believe, will somehow raise the profile , popularity and visibility of the game. The Pro Bowl has in essence lost its significance in recent years with a number of players having received an invite to appear after being on the ballot, they have simply turned down the offer. Financially for some stars , it is an added incentive in terms of bonuses paid out by a number of NFL franchises . Getty Images North America / Sam Ross …..
(4) Jerry Rice speaks to Drew Brees to his immediate left, as they consult , as to which player they will seek to draft on Day two of the draft process of the Pro Bowl . Team Rice will face Team Sanders in the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday afternoon . The game will be televised by the NFL Network in its entirety from Hawaii . NFL.com/ Michael Yanow ….
(5) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ,right, is seen here with New England Patriots’ CEO & owner , Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft , as the two have a brief discussion at the league’s headquarters. Kraft was a staunch advocate of Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in 2008. Since his ascent to the position, the league has seen a great deal of drama and turmoil during Roger Goodell’s tenure . Getty Images / Ian Holt ….
(6) October 20, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) warms up prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Clowney in some circles , is being viewed as the number one overall pick for the 2014 NFL Draft . Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports …
(7) Bill O’Brien the new head coach of the Houston Texans , who succeeded Gary Kubiak , fired by the franchise prior to the end of last season. The Texans finished with a league worst 2-14 record , during with the franchise had an eleven game losing streak during their 2013 schedule . AP Photo / Kyle Walsh ……
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