Maybe 20 or 30 years ago, when a fan hardly ever got to see players across the league doing their thing, all-star games were a big deal. These days, we have virtually unlimited access to highlights and games from every team and player. And we know we're preaching to the choir, but all-star games are getting worse -- they tend now to be complete abominations.
We tried to watch a little of the NHL game yesterday because we were intrigued by the format. But when you see constant 4-on-1 rushes, you know you aren't watching hockey. We tuned in for about 15 seconds to the Pro Bowl, just in time to see the NFC stretch its lead from 35-0 to 42-0 in the second quarter.
The only all-star game that still "works" to any degree is baseball's mid-summer treat. That, of course, is probably an indictment of or at least a reflection on the nature of baseball, whereby the speed is no different in a real vs. fake game. There is also the "incentive" of getting home field advantage in the World Series, though we doubt many players are truly busting it into another gear just in case their team happens to go the distance and plays in Game 7.
Our remedy for this nonsense: Keep the skills competitions/special contests in MLB, NBA and NHL. Those are actually fun. Find something equivalent for the NFL -- maybe a punt/pass/kick competition? And then, in place of the actual games, run a three-hour, edited down competition filmed a day or two earlier featuring some sort of Bar Games Olympics.
Would you rather see Adrian Peterson run 80 percent through a block executed at 60 percent on a defender playing at 50 percent ... or would you rather see Adrian Peterson go toe-to-toe with Julius Peppers in a safe but competitive series of battles in foosball, darts, bowling, pool, etc.?
That's what we thought. Give the people what they want, commissioners. And stop pretending that an outdated concept is entertaining. Because it almost always isn't.