Last night featured a plethora of television viewing options: Sherlock, Downton Abbey, WWE’s Royal Rumble PPV, the Grammy Awards (which seemed more forced and manufactured than the WWE thing did, from what little I saw of each.) Oh, and of course, the NFL’s Pro Bowl.
Seeing as how the majority of you are probably very much interested in football (the alternative being that you’re very much interested in me; frankly, I’d rather not explore that alternative) I’d guess you tuned in for at least a portion of the game. And if you did, you were actually rewarded a bit more this year than in prior games! I received multiple texts expressing amazement that the players actually seemed to be competing this year.
Granted, the fact that “actually seemed to be competing” is a step up says a lot about the lowered expectations some of us had for the game, but whether it was the new fantasy draft-style twist (with teams picked and overseen by Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice) or just a new attitude from everyone involved, it was a more watchable game. Jerry Rice’s team won 22-21 after a late touchdown and two-point conversion; Deion’s team had a final chance, but Justin Tucker missed a 67-yard field goal attempt.
If you’re curious as to how the Pro Bowl Bears performed, their numbers are as follows:
- Matt Forte: 6 rushes for 31 yards, 3 receptions for 24 yards
- Brandon Marshall: 1 catch for 21 yards
- Alshon Jeffery: 2 catches for 22 yards
- Tim Jennings: 3 tackles
- Kyle Long: (not really sure; I didn’t catch glaring mistakes, but that’s not scientific.)
It was a sloppy affair, as you’d imagine. Modern NFL offensive football is such a precise thing that throwing people together for a few days is going to lead to a defensive advantage. The game’s six quarterbacks combined to throw six interceptions (and five touchdowns), and the teams combined for just 650+ yards.
Injuries are also a concern in that sort of environment, and this year LeSean McCoy of the Eagles left the game with an ankle injury, while Buffalo safety (and potential Bears free agency target) Jairus Byrd was forced to leave early with an unknown injury. According to this Twitter update, though, it shouldn’t be much to worry about going forward.
But considering that after 2012’s debacle some were calling for the cessation of the event altogether, I’d say that any positive trend in terms of watchability and/or competitiveness is a good thing.
(I’d still prefer Sherlock, though.)