What Does The Pro (read: ‘popularity’) Bowl Mean Anymore? Nothing


For those who did not watch the Pro Bowl this year, the AFC beat the NFC – 59 to 41.  Whatever.  Some played like it was a regular season game, though most did tone it down quite a bit.  Boring.  It was fun to see all the best players of 2011 get together.  After all, its all about the stars of the game, right?  I guess.

Do I sound less than thrilled?  A little cynical maybe?  Well, as a Cowboys fan, I think I have a right to be.  To begin with, only two Cowboys players went to Hawaii, least since 2002.   I thought we were loaded with talent?  Only Cowboys fans still think that, but regardless, to only pick 2 – why these two – .  I also find it ironic that those two, DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff, were not only not as dominant in 2011 as in past years, but also came from the weakest of the three parts of the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, the Defense.  If the Pro Bowl were to represent the best players on each team from 2011, then for Dallas they would come from the Offense.

Namely: DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo and perhaps Laurent Robinson.  Yea, I know his injury wouldn’t allow him to play but DeMarco Murray broke records and nearly rushed for 1,000 yards in just a few games.  Laurent Robinson basically replaced Pro Bowler Miles Austin in the Cowboys line up and nailed it

for himself (and probably earned a fat free-agent payday).  And Tony Romo – in a year that he is finally starting to get former players like Steve Young, Kurt Warner, Roger Staubach and Trent Dilfer along with many other sports talking heads to admit that he is, in fact, a great QB – not to mention a year that was his best  statistically (better than his 3 other ProBowl years) – gets snubbed!?  Only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees played better this year.  But, whatever, right?

Cam Newton, who was selected ahead of Tony Romo in the Pro Bowl voting, played terrible in yesterday’s ProBowl.  What did we expect from Cam?  He had a very average year as a QBs year goes.  The only reason (and I expect and accept arguments to this) that Cam got voted to the Pro Bowl is because he wasn’t Jamarcus Russell.  Talk about the bar being set low.  Don’t for a minute think I’m taking anything away from Cam.  He showed everyone that the NFL level of the game is not too fast or too big for him.  He has real talent.  Cam Newton will be a force in this league, based on early results, but not yet.

Cam Newton is just one example that the NFL ProBowl is a lot more like a popularity contest than an acknowledgement of their skill level by peers, coaches and fans.   Would the Pro Bowl mean more to me if more Cowboys made it?  Yes, it would.  I’d be lying otherwise.  This is because I’ve always thought that the more Pro Bowls you played in, the better your chances at, like, the Hall of Fame and stuff.   After watching the players that did  get to go this year, I’m thinking its not such a big thing.

So what does the Pro Bowl mean after all.  Why do I care that Tony Romo got snubbed?  I haven’t made up my mind 100% but I got a little more perspective from a tweet by Sports Illustrated writer and Hall of Fame voter, Peter King, a few days ago.  Asked by tweet – aren’t Pro Bowl selections a big factor in Hall of Fame voting?  King tweeted back – Used to be. Now, they’re borderline meaningless to me.


-I’m am so freakin mad that the New York Giants rolled over us and into another Superbowl!  Everyone in the Dallas Cowboys organization should be mad too!  If they aren’t, that’s the problem.

-I mentioned Cam Newton more times than Tony Romo?

-Everyone in Cowboys Nation needs to go on a ‘sign Laurent Robinson!’ crusade.

-Phillip Rivers had a bad year.  Still made the Pro Bowl.  Anthony Gates too.  No offense to the San Diego Chargers, but really?

-Two Dallas Cowboys – two! – in the Pro Bowl.  Least since 2002.  Did I mention that?  I did?

-I said this last year.  I say this every year now.   I hope every Cowboys player watches the Superbowl with remorse, anger, disappointment and whatever feeling may spark a fire in their bellies.  Remember it, keep the fire lit, and lets get down to business in 2012. 

Artie Cappello

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