So I'm sitting here watching the Major League Baseball All Star Game (reminder: this time it counts!). I've watched some, if not all, of the All Star game each year, largely because I'm a big baseball fan. I was fortunate enough to attend last year's game at the Giants park (I'm too tired to figure out the current phone company sponsor) and it was a fun game with a little late inning drama. This year's is proving equally interesting as we're tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 9th.
Bud Selig, MLB and Fox would have you believe the game has become more exciting since it now has some bearing, in that it decides home field advantage in the World Series. We won't get into the insanity of that here. However, I do think the MLB All Star game has always been my favorite all star event. The NBA game can be fun with the high scoring but it just becomes a dunk and crazy pass-fest. I'm not sure I'd consider the NHL a legit 4th major league, but I actually enjoy their All Star weekend, particularly the skills competition.
That leaves us with the NFL's annual season-ending Pro Bowl. I think it's safe to say the Pro Bowl is the worst of the All Star Games. If you disagree please tell us why because I can't think of any reasons (aside from THIS). Half the players selected to start usually beg off. There are actually rules in place to keep people safe, including no motion by receivers, no blitzing and no calling of intentional grounding. I realize with this particular sport you need to keep players safe. However, it also makes the game that much more blah.
In light of baseball's midsummer classic, I'm curious if people can think of ways to improve the NFL Pro Bowl. I think the general problem is the nature of the sport. Football is violent and when you're playing a game that doesn't matter and players make so much money they're less inclined to play all that hard. In basketball and baseball you can play at less than full effort and it still looks semi-decent. In football it can look awful.
Would a skills competition make up the difference? Hockey has a great skills competition that includes a speed skating competition, an accuracy competition and another one where players are firing away at the goalie and he tries to stop as many goals as possible. The NBA has thrown some crap out there but I still enjoy the 3-point competition. And of course MLB has their home run derby (in spite of Chris Berman's all around god-awfulness).
So any suggestions for NFL's post-season not-so-classic? I honestly don't know what would help things. We might just be destined for perpetully crap, but maybe I'm wrong.