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Point/Counterpoint: A Steelers selection to the Pro Bowl means less than what it used to

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BTSC writers Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis offer differing opinions on whether an invitation to the Pro Bowl is really significant any more.

2013 Pro Bowl Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Pro Bowl rosters were announced this week and five members of your Pittsburgh Steelers were included on the roster. Dave DeCastro (4), Maurkice Pouncey (8), Minkah Fitzpatrick (1), Cam Heyward (2) and T.J. Watt (1) all made it and are representing the Steel City in Orlando the week before the Super Bowl. Guys like Bud Dupree and Chris Boswell were deserving. but didnt’t get selected. But with all of the changes and the unwatchability of the contest, does it really mean much to the players anymore? The Steeler Hangover’s Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis, have differing viewpoints on the following subject. Join them as they slug it out in text below.


A Steeler selection to the Pro Bowl means less than what it used to.

Bryan Anthony Davis’ Point

When I was a kid, I was enamored with pop culture and sports. I memorized the Top 40 music charts, followed the Oscar and Emmy nominations and religiously followed the standings and stat leaders of Major League Baseball and the National Football League. If “Come on Eileen” went to number one or Bill Madlock won the batting title (both in 1983), it was a big deal to me. I was also big on the Pro Bowl. I couldn’t wait to find out which Steelers would be selected to go to Hawaii and play in such an extravaganza. These were the best of the best. I would even take old white undershirts and a red marker and make my own AFC Pro Bowl shirt. OK, it was a new undershirt and Mom was t upset about it… but what are you gonna do? When game time rolled around after the Super Bowl, I was definitely watching. One day in 1982, both the NFL and NBA held their All-Star games on the same day. I never even watched basketball before, but I started that day. It was a glorious and much simpler time. And the one thing you could always wind your watch on, was the fact that Mike Webster and plenty of others would be repping the Steelers.

Of course, as with anything, times have drastically changed. Instead of being held in Hawaii, like it was from 1980-2009, the former-extravaganza has recently been held in Miami, Phoenix, Tampa and will be again in Orlando in 2020. Hawaii was a destination location and a reward for the player and their families. They still play there occasionally, but the island experience is no longer a constant. So. It means a lot less to the players to go anywhere but the Aloha State and it is no longer a reward for them and their families.

Now players have less incentive to play in the game and often bail out. Throw in the fact that the players from the Super Bowl entries don’t play and that leads to the alternates getting the spotlight. Then it becomes even less of the best of the best. It is great to see your players in the game, but it becomes disappointing if they fell short of the big game that follows a week later. Because when it comes down to it, the game largely lacks competitive spirit or any meaning at all.

The fan voting aspect also turns it into more of a popularity contest. Maurkice Pouncey is one of my all_time favorites. But if I am being honest, the 36th ranked center out of 36 hasn’t performed at a Pro Bowl level.

I love when Steelers receive accolades, but the concept of the Pro Bowl doesn’t mean much anymore. For me, I’d rather see my team’s players garner All Pro status and not play in a game that has become a farce.


Tony Defeo’s Counterpoint

I get what you’re saying to an extent, Bryan (well, not when it comes to Come On, Eileen, ‘cause if it ain’t Yacht Rock, it ain’t bleep!). Let’s face it, we all have the attention span of a gnat, these days, so to get anyone to care about music awards and glorified exhibition games such as the Pro Bowl is mostly a lost cause.

When it comes to the Pro Bowl, there’s no doubt guys care much less about it than they used to. But that doesn’t mean they still don’t want the recognition. If I’m not mistaken, if a player begs out of participating in the Pro Bowl due to “injury,” he still gets the recognition of officially being named to it. Same holds true with the alternates.

I’m no agent, but I believe contract bonuses are often tied to being named to the Pro Bowl, so, financially, it is a very important honor for the guys who aren’t as “blessed” in their checkbooks.

Speaking of honors, actually playing in the game might not mean much to an accomplished veteran such as Pouncey, a man who has participated in more than his fair share of Pro Bowls. But what about that young guy who, maybe just a few years ago, was watching Pouncey in the Pro Bowl and dreaming of doing the same, one day?

Furthermore, what about what the Pro Bowl means to the career legacy of a player? We might say being named to the Pro Bowl means nothing now, but 20 years from now, when some kid is researching Pouncey’s career, he or she might be amazed to know that the decorated center was so honored eight times (or more).

And what about those often hard to please Hall of Fame voters, you know the very same people that call players selfish for caring about their own stats and Pro Bowl honors? Hypocritically, when a player is up for the Hall of Fame, those same people look at his stats and Pro Bowl honors as a means to determine whether or not he deserves to be enshrined in Canton.

And, finally, while the State of Hawaii doesn’t currently hold exclusive rights to host the Pro Bowl annually, like any lost love, the game always seems to find its way back there again. Hawaii might not have a football team, but it has a ton of football fans, and to permanently eliminate the Pro Bowl would do those fans a disservice.

The Pro Bowl might not mean what it once did, but it’s still important enough to keep around.


So...what are your thoughts? Which one of us gets to bask in the glory of being right this week? State your case in the comments section and be sure to vote in the poll. Tony got back to his recent winning ways last week and is now 3-9 on the season, while BAD is hanging his head after tanking three of the last four. Can Tony get another streak going or will BAD get back to bidness? Vote and state your case in the comments.

Poll

Do you agree more with Tony Defeo or Bryan Anthony Davis on whether or not the Pro Bowl is meaningful to the players anymore?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    BAD is spot on.
    (57 votes)
  • 32%
    TonDef is right again.
    (28 votes)
85 votes total Vote Now