The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: What would you do with the Pro Bowl, and the Pro Bowl game itself, if you were in charge?
It seems that it has been over a decade by now that the NFL has tried to find a way to make the Pro Bowl more enticing to the fans ever since they made it less so in the past. There was actually a time when people gladly tuned into the game to see the best of the best compete with one another.
But viewership and interest has declined as the game has become less and less like the typically football game that we have become accustomed to seeing on Sundays. They did bring back the NFC versus AFC element of the game this year after dabbling with a pick-em style using team captains to ‘draft’ their players. People didn’t care about that.
And I’m not sure how much people still care about the game at this point on even a passive level. I can speak for myself in saying that I did watch the majority of the game, even if I did so largely in the background while I was ripping CDs to my computer. Yes, I still buy CDs. And LPs. And cassettes. But I digress.
I cannot say with certainty, on the other hand, that I would have tuned in had the Steelers not had their representatives in the game. I was relieved that their primary star players on offense who were elected to the Pro Bowl chose to decline their invitations, but I quite enjoyed seeing David DeCastro—even if he gave up a sack—and Ryan Shazier—who had a nice pass breakup—sporting the iconic team logo.
If I were to guess, I would say that the actual Pro Bowl game is running out of time. It becomes more and more absurd as we more frequently see third and fourth alternates participating in the game (Shazier was admittedly an alternate himself). Yet a part of me still wants to see it exist. And I still want the term “Pro Bowler” to hold weight. But I don’t know what to do about it. How would you restore dignity to the institution, or would you even bother?