New Pro Bowl Format Brings Legitimacy Back To The Game

By Ryan Wenzell
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For a change, this was a Pro Bowl that I didn’t turn off after the first quarter. Unlike most years when tackling wasn’t mandatory, the players actually gave an all-out effort and dare I say it made for a fun, entertaining and highly competitive game.

Teammates were tackling each other. Andrew Luck was being chased by teammate Robert Mathis. It was certainly an interesting sight to see. Due to the new draft format, there is no more AFC and NFC separation, and it’s one change that really seems to have worked. Two teammates being on opposite sides really seemed to liven up the game. In the end, Team Rice pulled out the victory thanks to a late surge. Regardless of the outcome, Roger Goodell‘s plan worked.

He asserted that he would get rid of the game if it continued to be an embarrassment as it was last season. Apparently, everyone got the message. It didn’t quite have the fervor of a regular season or playoff game, but the effort, especially on defense, was amped up in a big way.

The pass rushers were the story of the day. They got after it. We also saw a few bone-jarring hits, including some more teammate-on-teammate crime with Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward lighting up Josh Gordon, sending him flying.

The Pro Bowl has gotten its legitimacy back. Hawaii was represented well as the game actually made for a riveting 60 minutes of football. I may actually look forward to the Pro Bowl next year.

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