Silly rules, timing take some of the ‘pro’ out of the Pro Bowl

Silly rules, timing take some of the pro out of the Pro Bowl

It’s that time of the NFL season again. And if you guessed the Pro Bowl, then you’re right because the Pro Bowl is this weekend.

The Pro Bowl is a different game to watch, because it features the best of the AFC’s defense against the best of the NFC’s offense and vise versa. But one thing I don’t like about the Pro Bowl rules is that the defenses aren’t allowed to blitz the quarterback. This is dumb because fans want to see the best defense and the special rule doesn’t let the defense play to their full potential. 

Another silly feature of the Pro Bowl game is that the winning team earns the so-called “home-field advantage” for their conference representative in the Super Bowl. C’mon, what good does having home-field advantage at a neutral site have? Wow, you get to decide which jersey you want to wear – big whoop. 

And my last big gripe about the Pro Bowl? Why schedule it for the week before the Super Bowl, which means players in the big game can’t participate in the Pro Bowl?  That makes no sense, and it’s been that way since the NFL brought the Pro Bowl back to Miami for one year a few years back.

Meanwhile, the rosters for the Pro Bowl include a lot of rookies who are going to be in Hawaii for their first time. These guys are sure to enjoy the prestige of getting paid to play in the game, plus they get a bigger bonus if their team wins. Throw in a trip to Hawaii and it’s a pretty good deal.

Conference Championship Recap

AFC: Patriots 23, Ravens 20

Well, the game didn’t go that well (for me). I didn’t want to see the New England Patriots and Tom Brady to go back to the Super Bowl again because I don’t like Brady. (I respect him as a player, but I still don’t like him. He is just too good.) I still wish that my Super Bowl prediction had come true (the Ravens and the 49ers), but maybe next year.

But back to the game. It was a very good game throughout, partly because it was still a very close game at halftime with the Patriots leading the Baltimore Ravens 13-10. Then the Ravens started making their comeback, scoring a touchdown and a field goal compared to the Patriots lone field goal to take a 20-16 lead into the 4th quarter.

But then the game got exciting. The Patriots scored the game-winning touchdown 3 minutes and 31 seconds into the 4th quarter with a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Brady, but it wasn’t time to count the Ravens out just yet. They took the ensuing kickoff and got a good return (35 yards), but the Ravens were halted at mid-field because the Patriots intercepted the ball on the 50-yard line. But then Brady got too greedy and took a long shot to the end zone, and the Ravens answered the Patriots’ interception with one of their own.

The Ravens got down to about the 35-40 yard-line and got shut down on three straight runs. They went for it on 4th and 6 and Joe Flacco got hurried out of the pocket and threw the ball away. So the Patriots took over, but with the Ravens defense playing as good as they had all game, the Patriots went three and out.

The Ravens got the ball with 1:50 left on the clock. They did drive down the field, but they also got greedy and tried to win the game instead of trying to kick the game-tying field goal. They decided to throw three balls to the end-zone, and one of the balls was caught, but the receiver had the ball smacked out of his hands as he tried to come down in-bounds.

So then it was fourth down, and the ball was placed in the middle of the field, but Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed wide left. Cundiff looked like he was anticipating being iced byNew England. Well, the Ravens didn’t call the timeout and they missed their golden opportunity to get a shot at going to the Super Bowl. Of course, if they had made the field goal, they still would have had to win in overtime, but … we’ll never know if they could have pulled it off.

NFC:  Giants 20, 49ers 17 (OT)

The NFC Championship was a good game, but with the wrong outcome as the New York Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in overtime. Both teams had trouble converting 3rd downs; the Giants went 7-21 (.333) and the San Francisco 49ers went 1-13 (.076). In addition, the teams combined for 15 penalties for 110 yards.

The San Francisco 49ers had the longest play from scrimmage with a 73-yard touchdown catch and run from a pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis, and Davis had another touchdown from 28 yards out. But the two touchdowns weren’t enough to overcome the Giants offense and defense as the Giants, in overtime, got a fumble off of a punt and recovered from the 49ers, which led to the game-winning field goal.

The Pro Bowl

 Here’s my prediction for the Pro Bowl, which airs on NBC at 6 p.m. Sunday.

AFC 45 @ NFC 55 in Honolulu, Hawaii