I don't think anybody is going to argue that the NHL All-Star Game is bad. There is no actual hockey being played because no one wants to see their big names injured in a completely meaningless game. It's not even being played for home-field advantage in the championship, like in baseball. It has no point and is frankly kind of boring because there's no physical play or effort. I guess the break is nice if your team has a lot of injuries, and the skills competition is kind of neat, but other than that who really cares?
As bad as this game is, though, the NFL's Pro Bowl is so much worse. Since they're both on tonight I thought I would write about why the football version sucks.
It's the same boring bullshit, but worse.
The same problems that plague the NHL All-Star Game plague the NFL one. There's no defense being played and no actual physicality because the game is ultimately meaningless. This is a bigger problem in football because there is a very clearly defined defensive phase of the game. This would be like having the baseball all-star game with one team on the field who just hits home runs until they get tired and retreat to the dugout so the other team can get a chance. Football is a sport where physicality and hitting are a very big part of it; taking those out just makes it an entirely less athletic version of soccer.
It's missing some of the best players.
I don't mean to injury, either. The NFL, in a bid to try and get viewership up, moved the Pro Bowl from the end of the year to the week between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl. This means that players from what are allegedly the two best teams in the league will not be participating. No one wants to risk their big stars getting potentially injured a week before the league championship. The Super Bowl, in theory, pits the best NFC team versus the best AFC team; wouldn't the best teams have the best players? They're not in the football all-star game.
It had to rip off the NHL.
Nevermind the fact that the modern NFL exists out of a merger between two very prominent leagues; the original NFL and the AFL. They are even still broken up into these leagues by football's conferences. It would only make sense for the all-star game, just like the league championship, to be the NFC versus the AFC, but that was too sensical for the NFL. The NHL went to a school-yard-style-pick-your-team format a few years ago because the geographical east-west conferences have no real bearing on anything, and I personally find the new style a bit more interesting. If the NHL had more than four teams from the WHA--say, enough to form its own conference--then maybe a different format would make sense. Three of those four teams aren't even in their original cities anymore, and the last might as well be relegated to the AHL. The NFL, for some reason, thought this was a really cool idea and stole it from the NHL. Just the idea that anything the NHL did is being used as a model for any other sports league is laughable.
It's not in Hawaii this year.
Much like the college bowls that take place in exotic locations for no reason, half the appeal of watching the Pro Bowl was getting to see the nice shots of Hawaiian scenery. Who the fuck wants to watch any shots of the scenery in Glendale? Not that I wanna see Columbus scenery either, but it's at least more interesting than anywhere in Arizona.
It's weird for a league that hates fun to host an all-star game.
Let's not kid ourselves, all-star games are all about showboating. The NFL hates that shit. They add more and more each year to what is considered "unsportsmanlike conduct" when celebrating a touchdown, until eventually players will just have to solemnly nod to each other for a job well done. The NHL lets players wear capes, and skate around with flags, and other stupid but entertaining shit. The NFL does things like this.
In conclusion, fuck the Pro Bowl, fuck the All-Star Game, and fuck you. I need a drink.