NFL Pro Bowl open thread

The Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl?  What genius thought to do that?  None of the players from the two best teams in the league will be there, because they’ll be too busy preparing to play each other in the Super Bowl.  That means that fans will get to see all of the best players from teams that couldn’t advance into or through the playoffs.

I understand that the NFL doesn’t like having a weekend off between the championship games and the Super Bowl, but the Pro Bowl should have all of the best players able to play in it.  If the NFL doesn’t want an open weekend, then move the Super Bowl back a week and give both of the teams one week to prepare.  That’s good enough during the season — it should be good enough in the playoffs, especially this year, since both teams had a first-round bye.

The Pro Bowl already has its share of controversy.  Minnesota’s offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie lived up to his position name by apparently becoming the first player dismissed from the Pro Bowl:

Because he was Missing In Action for much of Pro Bowl week, Minnesota left tackle Bryant McKinnie became the first player I’ve ever heard of to be dismissed from the Pro Bowl.

If you follow McKinnie on Twitter (@bigmacvikings), you know he was nursing some nagging injuries toward the end of the season. You also know that he made no mention of skipping the Pro Bowl as a result, and you know that he participated in a practice earlier this week.

As well, you might know he was tweeting at, uh, odd hours with thinly veiled references to the Miami club scene. After the news broke Saturday, McKinnie tweeted that “I never said I didn’t go out” but insisted he thought his body “would start feeling better the later we got in the week.” McKinnie’s story — and it’s all there for you to read — is that he pulled out of the game because of injuries.

That leaves the NFC with only two OTs — and now they have to play the entire game.  It’s too late to get a replacement for McKinnie.  The AFC line will likely be fresher with better rotation.  I’ll pick the AFC to win it, 34-20.

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