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Pro Bowl has just about run its course

Jan 27, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

Last weekend wasn't football's best. We'll see if this coming Super Bowl Sunday is an improvement.

Although the NFL's Pro Bowl, brought to you by touch football and the Hawaii association of travel agents, gave NBC a win among adults 18-49 and total television viewers Sunday night, the total viewership of the game is down, and there is discussion that will culminate in April as to whether this may have been the last Pro Bowl that we'll see.

Did you think the game, a 62-35 NFC victory, was good?

Peyton Manning did, apparently, calling it a, "good, competitive game." Did he stop watching after he left the game when it was 10-7? Or was he still mesmerized after his longtime teammate Jeff Saturday, who played this year -- not very well -- for the Green Bay Packers in the NFC, lined up on the AFC's side of the ball to give Peyton one final snap?

And you had to wonder about the post-game comments that you heard from many players, almost as though they had been handed talking points by the NFL.

It seemed like they were all talking that this game was, "a little more intense" and that, "technology is improving and is making the game safer," they all seemed to say.

The sport news website Deadspin did have a live blog intended to give a running account of the biggest hits and most exciting plays of the star-studded Pro Bowl.

The blog ended one minute after kickoff.

You only need to look as far as New England's Wes Welker, who is a free agent, to understand that the Pro Bowl has run its course. Welker did not play in the game because he did not want to get hurt. He stands to make millions next year. And, would you want to be the safety to lay Welker out and impact his career in a meaningless game? Of course not.

Back in the day, the Pro Bowl was an opportunity for us to see the players we read about in Sports Illustrated, but hadn't seen because we would get a game or two each week on TV in the pre-ESPN era of sports.

Today, we've seen every player and every highlight before the players have dressed after their post-game shower.

And, back in the day, the extra $15,000 a player could earn in the Pro Bowl was important. Today, the winners get about $50,000 -- meaningless to most in a league where the average salary is about $2 million.

The scores of the last three Pro Bowls have been 55-41 (NFC), 59-41(AFC) and this year's 62-35 NFC win.

Dee-fense! Clap, clap. Dee-fense! Clap, clap.

Even the president weighed in about the game this weekend when asked whether, if he had a son, he would allow him to play football. In an interview with The New Republic, President Obama said he would struggle with the decision to allow his child to play the sport.

"I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football," said the President. "And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence."

The NFL has its problems that we'll all forget about Sunday when we watch Baltimore and San Francisco line up in the Super Bowl.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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