The Pro Bowl began a few minutes ago.
As bad as the NFL’s annual all-star game has been through the years, it’s now a total joke.
Instead of the traditional AFC vs. NFC format, which was used from the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 through the 2012 season, the game is now a glorified playground game, with teams chosen the same way third graders choose their teams for kickball at recess.
Two Hall of Fame players serve as team captains. The top two vote getters among offensive players and top two vote getters among defensive players are assigned to teams and advise the Hall of Famers on whom to draft.
Sadly, the NFL isn’t the first major sports league to use this format for its All-Star Game.
The NHL began it one year before the NFL. There have been several formats tried in hockey, including the defending Stanley Cup champion vs. All-Stars from the rest of the league, and a North America vs. World format. This, however, is ridiculous.
As bad as the pick-up formats used by the NFL and NHL are, at least those are pure exhibition games which count for absolutely nothing.
That’s not the case in Major League Baseball.
In 2003, then-commissioner Bud Selig overreacted to the uproar caused when the previous year’s All-Star Game, held in Selig’s hometown of Milwaukee, ended in a 7-7 tie after 12 innings when both teams ran out of players.
Beginning with the 2003 All-Star Game, Selig decreed the league which wins the exhibition contest would receive home field advantage for the World Series that season.
I’ve heard of stupid ideas, but this was beyond stupid. Bud Selig should have been put in a psychiatric hospital for that idea.
MLB rules state every team, no matter how pathetic, must have at least one All-Star. And given the bad attitude of today’s players, who sulk and bitch to everyone within earshot if they don’t get into the All-Star Game, it often puts home field advantage for the most importnat event of the season in the hands of players who have no chance of sniffing the wild card game, much less the World Series.
The NBA does not draft its All-Star Game teams, nor does it count for anything, but there’s no defense, period.
There’s got to be a better way in all four sports.