NFL Will Allow Players to Tweet During Pro Bowl at Designated Tweet Stations

The NFL is always looking for ways to spice up the Pro Bowl. As we all know, the Pro Bowl now takes place between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Although the game is still painfully boring, the NFL thought more people would tune in if the Pro Bowl took place before the season ended rather than at a time when everyone was done with football for the year. The latest idea for spicing things up involves — what else — Twitter.

“NFL will allow players to in-game Tweet during Sunday’s Pro Bowl,” Darren Rovell wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “There will be (one) designated area per sideline. Pro Bowl players will not be able to tweet from personal devices on sidelines. Will be computer station on each sideline.”

Bummer.  When I heard that the NFL was going to allow this, the first thought that popped into my mind was a bunch of dudes just sitting around in a circle on the sidelines, laughing and firing out tweets from their iPhones and Droids.  Rovell also pointed out that the NFL is not considering allowing the same type of practice to occur during regular-season games, so guys like Ochocinco shouldn’t get any whacky ideas after hearing this.  You’ll still be fined upwards of $25,000 for hopping on your smart phone in the middle of a game.  Even worse, it will get you verbally assaulted by a certain former Patriot.

Football Fans Show Incredible Interest in Pro Bowl Despite its Irrelevance

I don’t get it. I really do not get it. Our man Danny Lee wrote a satirical piece earlier this week explaining that he won’t be watching either the NHL All-Star Game or Pro Bowl. I don’t mind either All-Star game, or any for that matter, but none of them intrigue me. Actually, the skills competitions prior to the games generally capture my attention, but that’s it. Apparently I’m in the minority, because regardless of how irrelevant the Pro Bowl is, how little the players care about it, and little effort they give during the game, the fans absolutely love it.

Last year we pointed out that the Pro Bowl drew massive TV ratings, figuring that the game’s move to the week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl played a role in the boost. This year, it seems like more of the same. Check out some of the most popular search terms on google in the hours leading up to the game:

For me, watching the Thunder-Heat and Lakers-Celtics was on my sports radar Sunday. The Pro Bowl was not. Clearly that’s not the case for most sports fans who were so concerned with not missing the Pro Bowl they made it the most-searched term and fourth-most searched term. The power of the NFL is unbelievable, and this is just more evidence that the players and owners must come to an agreement on a new CBA because they can’t risk losing any popularity from this booming business.

2011 Pro Bowl or NHL All-Star Game, I Will Not be Watching Either One

Remember when the All-Star Game meant something? I don’t either. There was a time when something impactful actually happened at these exhibitions, like the 1964 NBA All-Star Game, when the players threatened to not take the floor in the final minutes before tip-off unless a pension plan was hashed out by then-league president Walter Kennedy. Baseball used to be so enamored with its best players that it used to have two all-star games a season. As far as sports history goes, that might as well have been a Wilt Chamberlain’s harem-worth of years ago.

Baseball’s mid-summer classic was once the stuff of legends. Carl Hubbell didn’t need a telescope to strike out Ruth, Gehrig, and Foxx to get himself out of a jam. Pete Rose famously torpedoed Ray Fosse, and they’re trying to convince us that NOW it counts? How about Reggie Jackson’s home-run, the ball yet another entity leaving Detroit in warp-speed fashion. The modern version of baseball’s grand exhibition has given us rosters that coincidentally look plagiarized from the Mitchell Report or the infamous 2002 game, which was apparently played with soccer rules. A year later, MLB decided that the only way to ensure that “this time it counts” was to enable the winning league to garner home-field advantage in the World Series. I wonder if the Giants sent Matt Capps a ring, World Series share, or a Blockbuster gift certificate yet.

The NBA’s all-star bonanza has had its Magic moments (’92), but more or less, the only East versus (Delonte) West moments of any intrigue already occurred during the last offseason. If wearing sunglasses indoors or bling is your thing, then give it a watch. Prediction: East 170 West 168 (or vice versa). (Not shown: defense, interest.)

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AFC and NFC Pro Bowl Roster Snubs: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Cassel and More

The 2011 Pro Bowl rosters were released Tuesday and there were some players left off the team that deserve a spot. Overall, the voters (a combination of fans, coaches, and players) did a pretty good job identifying the players who deserve to be on the roster. But of course there were some head-scratching selections, and a few close calls that we would like to address.

We realize that half the players will pull out of the game because of injury, lack of desire, or because they’re in the Super Bowl, but we still need to do this so people understand who really deserves to be in the game. Without further ado …

AFC QB: Matt Cassel over Peyton Manning. I’m not saying Peyton shouldn’t be there as an alternate, but the reality is he hasn’t had a great season and Cassel has outplayed him. Peyton’s 17 interceptions are my biggest issue while Cassel only has thrown five.

NFC QB: Aaron Rodgers over Matt Ryan. Ryan has enjoyed a strong season and has led Atlanta to the top record in the NFC, but Rodgers has been slightly better and more directly responsible for his team’s success than Ryan. Rodgers has done it all this year without a running game. Actually, he has been Green Bay’s running game.

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Pro Bowl’s Move to Week Before Super Bowl Produced Strong Ratings

The numbers are in and the Pro Bowl ratings were strong — 12.3 million people watched — the most since 2000. Those were particularly strong considering the game was on ESPN instead of NBC, as it was last year. All along I thought the idea to move the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl was a good one, for many reasons. The primary reason is one expressed by me and shared by many of my listeners on Sporting News Radio, and it is that most sports fans are still in “football mode,” so it’s best to give us all the NFL action we can handle while interest level is up. I actually think they should play it on a Thursday night, a few days before the actual Super Bowl. Tell me that wouldn’t be a good appetizer for the fans.

Even with the interest and ratings for the Pro Bowl being elevated, some changes still should be made. As Colts President Bill Polian most vehemently expressed, the teams participating in the Super Bowl shouldn’t be forced to have their players show up to the game and fragment the team’s traveling plans. Though some media members downplay the importance of an entire team traveling together, it is a big deal to have the entire team make its trip to the Super Bowl together. For one, this rubs it in for players who didn’t make the Pro Bowl when they see teammates getting separate treatment. Secondly, it breaks up routines established during the season that teams don’t want altered. Lastly, the biggest leaders of teams aren’t around to help set the tone for their teammates. If you don’t think that’s important, recall that the Giants dressed in all black for business when they traveled to Glendale before beating the Patriots.

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