Thursday, January 28, 2010

All-Star Game Overhauls

With the NFL's Pro Bowl around the corner, now is an apt time for me to air my number one complaint about the NFL's, NBA's, and MLB's All Star Games and suggest the solution for each. I'm not aiming at novelty, just honesty.

The Pro Bowl (NFL):

Problem: The game is completely meaningless. All-Star games tend towards meaninglessness, but this one is at the pinnacle of the mountain of no-meaning. It's outside the confines of the regular season, probably by necessity. Many to players bail out. The new format makes it even worse by eliminating players from the Super Bowl teams from participating. And even those who do show up don't play hard. The thing is, I think that all of those problems are defensible. It's way too easy to get injured in a football game. Why should players and teams take that risk for a meaningless exhibition?

Solution: Eliminate the Pro Bowl. Since the game is bound to be meaningless, and bad football why not go the whole way and completely eliminate the risk of getting injured when it doesn't serve a greater purpose (like the preseason does).

NBA All-Star Game:

Problem: Fan vote completely determines All-Star game starters. If the fans were at least somewhat responsible, like baseball fans, then this might be ok. However, by voting McGrady and Iverson as starters I think that the fans forfeited their right to have 100% of the vote. They prevented two worthy players from having roster spots, and it's not uncommon for contracts to have bonuses kick in for making All-Star teams.

Solution: Give the fans 1/3 of the vote , the players and coaches 1/3 and the press 1/3. This would ensure that the fans still have a major say, but we can also be protected from fan stupidity.

MLB All-Star Game:

Problem: It's artificially meaningful. The All-Star game should not have a direct impact on the season or post-season of the sport. It's an exhibition. Important things, like determining which league will have home field advantage in the World Series is too important to determine via an exhibition.

Solution: Go back to the way it was before. The game was inherently meaningful enough as it was.


  1. My guess NFL pro-bowl is about money. The NFL can highlight some up and coming stars. The NFL also can show the athletes "enjoying the game" which gives them an image boost. I wonder how many injuries have come out of the pro-bowl as compared to revenue earned.

  2. It definitely is about money, they want to squeeze every penny they can out of the players. I am curious too how much revenue they get, because no one watches it. The NFL in general doesn't care about its players (except for its star quarterbacks), so as long as they make any money on the Pro Bowl, it isn't going away any time soon.

  3. Regarding the NFL Pro Bowl, players hate playing in it, but it's in their interest for it to stick around. If they are named to the Pro Bowl, even if injured, they receive bonuses. So, yes, it is about money, but not just for the league, but for the players.

    I'd rather see them replace it with different skills competition. I'd bet the players would be more likely to try hard for one-on-one pride where they're less likely to get injured. Maybe even have old-timers compete against each other in similar contests. Who wouldn't want to see Montana vs. Simms in an accuracy contest, even if they are old?

  4. I had thought about the bonus clauses in the players' contracts. I think that they should still have some sort of all star selection that satisfies the bonus clauses.

    I like your idea of a skills competition a lot. That would be fun. Didn't they used to have an NFL skills competition? I feel like I remember watching it as a kid.

  5. I think about the dunk contest at the NBA All-Star Weekend and think a skills competition could definitely work. Think about it: most dunks have already been done. Until someone pulls out a 540 or a dunk from the top of the key, the dunks themselves aren't that great. Yet, it's fun to watch because the athletes are having a good time, talking trash, trying to one-up each other. I think the same thing could work w/ the NFL.

    Yeah, there was a skills competition years ago. I think it could be resurrected.

  6. Oh it absolutely could work, and then every once in a while you would get a Vince Carter type performance that wows everyone and makes it even better.

    My only hesitation is that the slam dunk is much flashier than anything you could do in an NFL skills competition. So while it wouldn't generate the level of interest that the slam dunk contest does, I think it would still be of interest to serious football fans.