NFL Pro Bowl: Can Peyton Manning Make You Watch?

Frank Doyle | Updated Jan 25, 2013

Pro Bowl 2013 Preview: AFC vs. NFC

Let’s be honest. The Pro Bowl has been basically unwatchable for the better part of a decade. This event might as well be the NFL’s version of Spring Break with a glorified flag football game tagged on the end to appease corporate sponsorship. In theory, it’s obviously a great idea – bring the superstars of the most popular sports league in the world together for an All-Star game a week before the Super Bowl. Of course, after playing four preseason games and 16 regular season games since August, the last thing these guys want to do is take another hit. As a result, the quality of the game has suffered dramatically, to the point that the Pro Bowl’s future after Sunday’s game is in question.

Peyton Makes His Pitch

When Peyton Manning speaks, people listen. So it was no surprise that he was tapped to stoke the fire at the Pro Bowl. Manning takes these games seriously. He owns seven Pro Bowl passing records that include most career passing yards, touchdowns, and completions. The Denver Broncos quarterback addressed both the AFC and NFC rosters at a dinner in Hawaii earlier this week, encouraging the players to put in an honest effort in the game. Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is at least one player who is buying in. “We owe it to our fans, we owe it to our viewers, to give them a little more effort than we did last year,” Tillman told reporters this week. It’s a very fine line though. Players could probably give a little more on the field, but they’re not going to treat this like a playoff game either. “I see both sides of the coin, I really do,” Houston running back Arian Foster told the NFL Network. “But in all honesty, with all due respect, Mr. Goodell? He’s not out here taking these hits.”

Prediction

If anybody can save the Pro Bowl, it’s Peyton Manning – especially when he’ll be playing on the same team as current Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Neither of those guys will mail it in and it’s worth noting that this game is now listed as a pick ‘em at Sports Interaction after the NFC opened as a 2-point favourite. Personally, I’d feel more comfortable betting on the colour of Roger Goodell’s Hawaiian shirt than on this game, but if you are looking for a football bet to tie you over until the Super Bowl, take a shot with the AFC and over 84 points.

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