BY SPNW Staff 06:30AM 12/28/2012

AFC-NFC Pro Bowl: Should NFL Keep It Or Kill It?

Pro Bowl designations are important, but the Pro Bowl game itself borders on an athletic sham. Should the league keep it or get rid of it?. Vote here.

Richard Sherman won his appeal and avoided a four-game suspension, but the cloud of suspicion over a “failed” drug test cost him a Pro Bowl berth. / Wiki Commons

The NFL’s most egregious Pro Bowl snub, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, won his appeal and won’t have to serve a four-game suspension for using a banned substance, meaning the Seahawks will have Sherman and Brandon Browner available for the playoffs. But news of Sherman’s failed test, first reported Nov. 28, certainly cost him a trip to Hawaii.

“I know we didn’t vote for him and the only reason was the PEDs,” an unidentified receivers coach from an NFC team told” But if you just want to talk about how he played, he was great. When I say he was the best corner in the league, I’m telling you that it wasn’t really that close.”

Sherman enters the final game of the regular season Sunday against St. Louis with seven interceptions (tied for second in the league), three forced fumbles and one touchdown. The score followed Red Bryant’s blocked field goal that Sherman returned 90 yards Sunday night in a lopsided win over San Francisco (third-longest such return in league history).

Although Sherman, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, failed to get a Pro Bowl nod, the snub didn’t seem to rankle him. But it called into question the process by which players are selected, through fan, coach and player voting. Certainly that process is flawed and the NFL is responsible.

Sherman reportedly finished third in the fan vote and should have been an easy Pro Bowl choice by players and coaches. But someone leaked the results of his “failed” drug test to ESPN, which reported the news, which deterred coaches and players from voting for Sherman even though his appeal hadn’t been heard.

That’s hardly the only reason the Pro Bowl selection process doesn’t work.

Five Seahawks – C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, RB Marshawn Lynch, S Earl Thomas and KR Leon Washington – made the NFC Pro Bowl team. The Seahawks are 10-5 and still have an outside shot at the NFC West title.

Now consider: The Kansas City Chiefs are 2-13, and they have as many Pro Bowl players as the Seahawks. The Chiefs also have as many as the Denver Broncos, the consensus No. 1 team in NFL power rankings regardless of conference or team.

Worse, three starters from the Chiefs defense — OLB Tamba Hali, ILB Derrick Johnson and S Eric Berry – are Pro Bowlers. If you’ve kept track, you know that the Chiefs’ defense ranks 25th in the league in points allowed. The Seahawks have one Pro Bowler (Thomas) from a defense that ranks first in the same category.

Sherman should have made the NFC Pro Bowl squad, but was left off the team for a potential suspension that didn’t pan out.

Sherman was correct when he said that playing in the Pro Bowl “doesn’t matter.” The Pro Bowl itself has long been a sham of a competition, held mainly as an excuse for the NFL to throw luaus for its biggest sponsors.

But becoming a “Pro Bowl player,” or all-star, is important. Pro Bowl designations are critical in assessing Hall of Fame candidacies, especially among players without abundant statistics (offensive linemen, for example). Given that, what should happen?


  • Sniper

    Think the NFL should do away with the game but still pick the players and send them to Hawaii. They can particpate in skill contests at their positions and the game should be a Flag Football contest to lessen the opportunity of anyone getting seriously hurt and take place the bye week between conference championship games and the Super Bowl

  • whoKarez

    Kill it. For too long, the NFL has ruined the pro bowl by allowing the popularity contest remind us of life’s unfairness. Year in and year out players were selected not for current ability but plays made in the past while truly talented players were snubbed. This year is somewhat improved but still, the snubbing continues. I quit watching it so long ago I can’t remember the last time. I think David Krieg was a Seahawk.

  • jafabian

    Not sure the NFL could get rid of it without the player’s union saying something. Lots of contracts have bonuses tied to making the game and Hawaiian tourism might protest as well. Though based on how the NBA upped and left Seattle I don’t think the NFL would really care about that. IMO, just find a way to make the whole thing better. But I understand players not wanting to get hurt during the game. No one wants a season or career ending injury during a game that doesn’t count.