The 2023 Pro Bowl Games wrapped earlier on Sunday and if you like flag football mixed in with something similar to the old Superstars competitions in the 1970s, perhaps you were entertained it by it overall.
Ahead of the Sunday action starting, former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca, who is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joined the Hall’s Senior Director of Program Activation and Producer of HOF Productions, Jamir Howerton, on “The Mission” podcast and he was asked to give his thoughts on what the Pro Bowl has now become. Faneca made his thoughts very clear.
“I don’t know where it went down the line, and I don’t have any idea as to when they got to the two-hand touch a couple years ago, but that just threw it out the door for me right there,” Faneca said. I don’t know what happened there.”
Faneca, who was voted to the Pro Bowl an amazing nine times during his 13 years in the NFL, made it clear to Howerton that he enjoyed playing in the annual All-Star game when he had the opportunity to do so.
“But I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Faneca said. “I enjoyed the games. You enjoyed meeting guys that you’ve been going against. Just a really good time, man. I always enjoyed it and I was always honored to go out there and play and be a participant, man.”
Faneca even told Howerton how he put off a surgery one year so that he could play in the Pro Bowl.
“I had a shoulder surgery one year and I put it off a couple of weeks so that I could go play in the game, and did it when I got back,” Faneca confessed.”
I’ll admit that I tried to watch as much of the Sunday Pro Bowl games as I could these last few days. Overall, however, I thought it was just okay. I mean, the flag football portion had some highlights and it did look like all players were giving their all and enjoying it at the same time. Even so, it obviously still wasn’t close to the old Pro Bowl games of yesteryear. Those days are sadly gone forever.
What made the Pro Bowl game so attractive to fans for all those years? I think Faneca said it best in his interview.
“You know, it definitely is, you know, it’s an extra game at the end of the season and everybody’s beat up, right?” Faneca said. “But, you know, it’s an exhibition, right? It’s an exhibition game. And I think when a lot of the criticism came down on it, was people just were thirsty for more football, right? They wanted one more Super Bowl, right? They wanted more action.”
Well, the action fans wanted more of isn’t likely to return. We’ll now see if the current form of the Pro Bowl, the Pro Bowl Games, winds up keeping its structure for a little while. That will likely depend on what the television ratings say and I’m guessing those will surface a few days from now. I’m almost 55 years of age, however, and the Pro Bowl will never be as exciting to me as it was over a decade ago and before. I guess I better accept it.