All-Star Games: What’s the Point?
This past weekend was the perfect example of what’s wrong with pro sports: All-Star games! The idea is great, but the execution? Eh. They’re basically glorified exhibition games featuring the best of the best according to a popularity contest that were created to bring in more money for the league. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they should do away with them completely. Instead, maybe each sport should take a look at their current format and make some adjustments.
Let’s take a look at the selection process. In baseball, basketball and hockey, fans select the starters and the rest are selected by the coaches/league. The NFL factors in fan voting for its selections, but it only counts for 1/3 of the vote. The other two-thirds of the vote are made up of coach and player voting.
I think the NFL got it right with the voting process. It’s pretty consistent in voting in the deserving players. While there’s always “snubs”, it seems to be less prevalent in the NFL than in other sports. Maybe the other three leagues should rethink their voting process to ensure the top stars are actually playing and not the entire starting lineup of the host city’s team! (I’m looking at you Montreal Canadiens!!)
While the NFL may have a great selection system, everything else about the Pro Bowl sucks. Yeah, the players might like the fact that it’s in Hawaii, but that sucks for just about everyone else. Unless I win the lottery or the game moves, I’ll never see a Pro Bowl in my life. I know the Miami experiment went awry awhile back, but there has to be another solution.
Why not let the Super Bowl city host the game as part of the week of festivities? And what happened to holding the game after the season? Maybe your Super Bowl players might actually get to play in the game. Instead, I’m stuck watching Andy Dalton vs. Cam Newton for an entire half! (Seriously McCarthy? Brees and Rodgers on your bench, and you play Cam Newton for the whole second half?!? Not gonna lie. I changed the channel.)
And speaking of players and teams, why stick with the traditional East vs. West, AL vs. NL, etc.? Why not try the fantasy draft like they do in the NHL? I watched the entire All-Star Fantasy Draft. It was awesome to watch the captains (who were selected by the All-Star players) select their own fantasy team. You get to see interesting match-ups like teammate vs. teammate, heck, even identical twin vs. identical twin. It would definitely mix things up a bit. Plus, it’s another TV opportunity which = $$$!!
And if we’re talking about events that bring in the eyeballs and the dough, you have to mention the skills competition. Give me a slam-dunk competition, home run hitting contest or hardest shot contest any day of the week. I’d be insanely happy if the leagues just abolished the games and held super-sized skill competitions instead. Why not just have the teams compete against each other in the skills competition? Add more events, get everyone involved, and we all win!
Let’s face it, All-Star games have just lost their charm. They all have their highs, but it’s mostly lows, including the ratings, minus the NHL. (Woo hockey!) There has to be a way to get fans engaged again. Right now, the NHL seems to be the only league that’s even trying to get it right, and it’s paying off for them. Our only hope is that the other leagues follow suit and revamp the currently stale format of these silly games.