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Peter King, you got this one wrong. I love reading your Monday Morning Quarterback column on SI and, for the most part, you are right on, however on this one, I have to disagree with you. Allow me to recall the Dec. 8 edition of MMQB (page 6). In it, King writes:
I think the NFL has to take Pro Bowl voting away from fans. It’s silly, it’s pointless, and it makes a mockery of the game. How can Joe from Klamath Falls vote for three guards in the NFC? I don’t even like players voting. The vote should go to 96 people: two coordinators per team one pro scout per team. Then it would really mean something.
While I agree that in all-star voting for all sports, the fans do not pick the best teams. In fact, fans tend to go for name recognition and past performance over who are really this year’s best. However, the Pro Bowl, as with other All Star contests, are exhibitions for the fans. The fans are paying to go to the games and the fans are the ones watching at home on TV, so why should the fans not choose. After all, the results of the game are meaningless (well, except the debacle that is the MLB All-Star game with the home field tie-in).
Secondly, especially in the NFL, these games are nearly devoid of the substance of the sport. The NFL prohibits QB contact and tones down the rules to prevent injury and the NBA and NHL stars forget what defense is. And, with the Pro Bowl being after the season, some players turn down the invite entirely (yes, it does happen in other sports too, but to a lesser extent).
I am all for hybrid systems where the fan vote is some percent, the players have a voice, and coaching or management perhaps have another slice of the selections. But, please do not take what little the fans truly get to say in sports away from us!