Pro Bowl 2013 Preview: Youth of roster getting set to shine

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Let's just not take it so seriously.

No one will ever put together a highlight film of the greatest Pro Bowl moments ever. No one accepts it as a valid game anyway. If fans toned down their expectations for the level of competition, they'll find themselves watching young guys running around and having a good time.

They'd also get a chance to see and hear from some of the biggest names in the game. But perhaps what's more interesting is fans getting a chance to hear from players they haven't heard much of outside of a Fantasy Football roster move.

How many fans outside Chicago know who Henry Melton is? How many people realize how huge of a year Vincent Jackson had?

It doesn't mean football fans only see what they want to, but simply that much of the personality side of the NFL is limited to end zone and sack celebration dances, and whatever commercials quarterbacks are in.

The young players may not get the chance to dazzle us with their athletic ability (odds are probably better they'll appear to embarrass a veteran player who's trailing three yards behind them on a post pattern that went for a touchdown...wait, that was the AFC Divisional playoffs when a Pro Bowl starter was burned twice by a guy who didn't make the team). Instead, it's the miked-up stuff and sideline banter with other guys that makes this compelling.

Maybe I'm the only one into that kind of thing, but the fact is the game of football can't be played non-competitively. That's why the product on the field in these games looks so bad. There has to be a plan in place if you're playing 11-on-11 tackle football. There is no pick-up version of this sport.

But there is spontaneity. We can laugh at things like Antonio Brown heading out to cover Larry Fitzgerald, or a defensive lineman dropping into deep middle coverage just for the sake of it being outside the normal confines of the game.

What those players say about those things afterward, though, can be just as entertaining, and create the environment this really is nothing more than a fun event meant to cap off a season before the highest level of competition is set to hit the field.


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