Lots of talk about the Pro Bowl balloting and how Giants players are getting boned by NFL fans in the voting. Yeah, it's unfortunate, because some of the guys could use the notoriety. There aren't enough Kardashians to go around, so getting to the Pro Bowl is the only other way to get you some media exposure...
Other than that, who cares? The Pro Bowl is a waste of time. The game should never be played. The other sports can be played under modified rules, so their All-Star games make sense. But football can only be played at one speed. I say stop playing the game and just have a TV event like Bob Hope used to do with the All-Americans.
Do you watch the Pro Bowl? Are you an idiot? Answer the second question first. I never watch. I don't care. The game is a joke. Guys running around pretending to play football. There's more contact in the games played on the Kennedy compound in HyannisPort.
Stop playing the game. If the NFL Network was smart (and I think they are) they would create their own version of the ESPYs and just have an event. They can show highlights, give out awards, wheel out some celebs and then everyone can party afterward.
Something like that will dust the current Pro Bowl format in the ratings, big time. But the NFL likes that annual trip to Hawaii, so this might not happen for awhile. But it's coming.
Why it's not here yet is the question.
As for the voting itself, I don't think many fans understand how it works. Millions of fans submit ballots, but those ballots only count as one-third of the final tally. The players have another third, and then the coaches have the final third. The fans, as usual, are in the minority. It's not quite an open democracy. Their voice gets heard, but could be overruled by the insiders in the business.
That's a good thing. It looks like the fans have lost contact with reality on some picks. On others, they are dead-on correct. Unfortunately for the Giants, that doesn't bode well - with the fans, anyway.
Many of the Giants' starters who are on the ballot were hurt this year. Others just aren't as good as the other players they are up against. The Giants have six Pro Bowl-worthy players this season: Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Jake Ballard, Mathias Kiwanuka, Victor Cruz and Jason Pierre-Paul. The first four are on the ballot and not faring well. The other two are not on the ballot at all...
That does not mean none of them will be in the Pro Bowl. Barring something unforeseen, Eli will be there. So will JPP. The players and coaches will see to that. The others may get there after the fact. The Super Bowl representative, which figures to be either Green Bay or New Orleans, will not be sending their players to Hawaii.
In fan voting, the Packers have nine players in the top slots at their position. The Saints have two. There will be lots of openings if Green Bay goes to the Super Bowl this year.
One of those openings will be at QB (Aaron Rodgers), so Eli will get that spot. If the Saints get in, then Drew Brees won't be in Hawaii, Eli will.
At DE, Minnesota's Jared Allen is the leading vote-getter. He will be there. Jason Babin of Philadelphia will be, too. The third spot will be JPP's unless the coaches and players lose their bearings.
TE will be tough. But not if the Saints make the Super Bowl. Jimmy Graham is the lead man there, so Ballard may slip in - especially if he has strong showings the next two weeks - but he'd have to leapfrog about four or five others, which would be a stretch.
Cruz is not a lock, but if he has the most receiving yards in the NFC (he is only 67 behind Carolina's Steve Smith at the moment) he's got to get one of the four spots. Smith and top vote getter Calvin Johnson of Detroit will be two, with Atlanta's Roddy White being the third. Cruz could possibly be the fourth.
Then there is the legion of players who back out of the game after getting named to it. You can bet a good 25-30% will not play in the game due to injury or some other reason. That's when the alternate pool gets the call. Kiwanuka and the others may find themselves in that position.
So don't fret, Giant fans, there will be Giants in Hawaii this year.