Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate DNVR Sports Community!

The Faults In Our All-Star Weekends

Mike Olson Avatar
February 9, 2024

Far be it from me to disagree with the Great and Powerful NFL, but…

Sorry. That’s a solid C+ for effort, at best. I know Hurts doesn’t often catch, but he’s jumped before, right? His body and brain betrayed the usually-remarkable athlete for a hot second, in what was amazingly, one of the most entertaining and charming parts of the entire affair. Jalen may have been somewhere between that A and C+, but the NFL’s Pro Bowl was a pretty solid F. Some of the events of the weekend were fed back in highlight packages that showed just how few interesting things occurred when push actually came to shove.

There was a game of sorts, and the NFC eventually won it by some video game score, which meant that they took home twice as much in prize money (80k) as their AFC counterparts. Geno Smith miraculously threw for two touchdowns on 15 of 21 passes, and still managed to make half of those misses interceptions in a game no one was playing at full speed. It was hard to take much of any of it seriously, even in a fun way, as no one on the field was taking it very seriously at all.

Over in the NHL’s All-Star weekend, Conor McDavid was making the skills competition his very own, and the teams in the game were also competing in a Captain-led not-exactly round robin format that eventually left you scratching your head about who had won and who was still going to be playing for… what. While the game(s) and skills competition far outshone football’s tough showing, there still weren’t many high stakes or compelling moments that left you sitting on the edge of you seat.

Baseball and basketball suffer from similar issues in their All-Star get-togethers, with parts of their skills competitions that are legend (home run derby, three-point shooting competition), easy on the eyes (celebrity games), or more often than not, uneven at best… which is most all of the rest.

And like hockey and football, the competitions themselves tend to be middling-effort, low-defense affairs. While it makes sense from the perspective of not risking injury, especially for the sports that have these contests mid-season, it also reduces the amount of drama the games can then provide. Yes, I do want to see the finest in their sport each perform in their sport. I’m just not sure I want to see them half-ass it for some dog-and-pony show that they care about as much as I do.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the honor it is for each of these guys to find themselves named to a list at the apex of their sport. And I am awestruck by the amount of collective talent in each of these gatherings. I’m just not sure it’s any less meaningful to combine the best of the skills competitions with a two hour awards with highlights packages of each of the folks who earned the honor. It might not be any more entertaining or well-watched, but these leagues certainly need to try something.

That’s the fact they might be most aware of, the flailing year-over-year viewership ratings of each of these sports All-Star moments. The flood of changes you’ve seen in each season’s approach reflects their concerns over the lack of general interest in what they are selling. And while some regurgitated version on the ESPYs isn’t any more likely to garner interest or conversation for showcasing the best-of-the-best in these leagues, it feels like there needs to be some sort of radical departure to find a better way to show off their stars.

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?