As someone who thought the new Pro Bowl format was a terrible idea, I’ll have to admit I was completely wrong. The 2014 version was the first time I have ever been thoroughly entertained by the game. The new rules pitting teammates against each other actually made it kind of fun, and adding to that entertainment value was the fact that they definitely didn’t take it easy on one another.
Some people are trying to make a controversy out of Derrick Johnson’s big hit on Jamaal Charles, but Johnson did nothing wrong and Charles agreed. It wasn’t an illegal hit, and he obviously wasn’t trying to intentionally hurt his teammate. Johnson, who earned much-deserved defensive MVP honors, was simply trying to make sure one of the NFL’s best playmakers wasn’t going to make a play on him.
That hit and many others throughout the game helped make a statement — the Pro Bowl is going to be a competitive game from here on out. If players are afraid to get hurt then they should sit out and let the guys who are willing to make it a real game play. Without the intensity there is no game.
Watching the NFL’s best play at 50 percent was pointless and losing the fans’ collective interest fast. There’s a good chance we would lose the Pro Bowl altogether if it kept going the way it was. The level of competitiveness in a game is vital to make it worth watching, and the Pro Bowl definitely needed that edge. Johnson and everyone else who put out their best efforts helped to revitalize a game that was on its last legs.