All week we dreaded the game. The average football fan never watches the game. The general media slams the game as if it were the worst event on the pro sports calendar.
About 40% of the selected players dropped out of the game, but the game also saw a 40% ratings increase.
I believe that some of the increase has to do with the game being played the week before the Super Bowl. It adds an extra edge to the game. Even though it means that some of the leagues premiere players aren't active in the game, we still get to see players that had great seasons, and are owned in every fantasy football league. Whether it's Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Philip Rivers, or Matt Schaub, David Gerrard, and Vince Young out there doesn't matter. It's still NFL superstars, and it's still players that people watch on a regular basis.
The biggest aspect in the success of yesterday's game had to be the ESPN production. The pre game show was phenomenal and exciting. The on field interviews with the stars were as good as they have been all decade. The coaches voices, though they noticeably sounded like 1960's technology, were great, even if it was two of the most un-intriguing coaches to have mic'd up... ever.
ESPN bringing out their Monday Night Football crew to do the Pro Bowl was also a great idea. It gave an otherwise illegitimate game a sense of legitimacy. Though we didn't get to see Peyton connect with Reggie, or Brees fire one for Fitz, we did get to see an exciting game.
The Pro Bowl shouldn't allow blitzing. Stop saying it should. The Pro Bowl should never be more than an offensive exhibition with solid coverage. I'd take a non-defensive 100 point game over Mario Williams injuring his shoulder any day. Mainly because I watched the Pro Bowl on Sunday to cap off what was a great season for some of the best NFL players. Did it have to be the best 100 players in the league? No.
But it was still better rosters than we're used to seeing, in a game that showcased players talents in a way we rarely get to see.