By Jacob Dillard
All the players in All-Star games will al- ways tell you, “You have to be there” to get the full experience of it. But really, what is there to experience?
This “full experience” includes watching the best players in the league participating in meaningless skill challenges, and a game in which you could get the same experience during a backyard football game.
Except for the fact that there aren’t any offensive shifts, blitzing, more than two wideouts lined up on one side and no blocked punts or field goals. The NFL Pro Bowl is one of the worst All-Star games because the game is not exciting like most other regular season games. The skill challenges such as dodgeball and the relay race have nothing to do with football and are frankly just silly.
Keep football players doing what they are paid to do, play football. The All-Star game wastes their talent when they could be playing to their full potential in an All- Star game with actual implications. In 2014, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, said he doesn’t like the Pro Bowl, and if neither the NFL nor the fans want the Pro Bowl, why have it?
The MLB All-Star Game used to be a good example of a purposeful All-Star game because players had something to play for: whichever league won the All- Star game would get home-field advantage in the World Series.
However, starting Dec. 1, 2016, the team with the better record would receive this advantage. While this may seem like a logical justification for home-field advantage, it unfortunately deems the All-Star game a waste of time. There is no point in watching the best players in the league play if they aren’t obligated to try.
In the NBA All-Star game, the players are chosen by fans’ votes, and the reserves are chosen by head coaches. The high- lights of the game consist of lazy 3-point attempts, wide-open dunks, no defense, and Steph Curry lying on the floor. While the players may be having fun on the court, the fans could get the same enter-
tainment from a neighboorhood basket- ball game. Defense is non-existent in
the game, which leads to extremely high scores. Fans who pay large sums of money to see their favorite basketball stars face off end up getting a show of NBA players playing halfheartedly.
During the NHL All-Star weekend, there is a skills competition, along with a single-elimination 3-on-3 tournament, based on teams’ divisions in the league. The All-Star selection method mandates only one player from each team can come, leading to high-quality players getting passed over for worse players.
While this may seem more fair, the point of the All-Star game is to showcase the best players, not try to encompass all the teams. As in the case with other All- Star games, the players rarely try, and some actively skip the event. Players called to the event frequently skipped by citing minor injuries, and in 2009, the league announced it would suspend players for skipping the All-Star Game, unless they had also missed regular-season time. All that ends up going down is 60 minutes of players floating up and down the ice occasionally taking a fluttering shot. Why play in a meaningless game with the possibility of an injury?
All-Star games have a lot of potential to showcase the best of the league clash- ing, yet all they manage to present is such players goofing off. One possible solution is to actually find a way for the players to compete at their highest level by putting a higher stake on the game. The MLB All- Star game had the right idea at first and this led to epic All-Star games.
There is no real incentive for the players to actually try in the game, except for personal pride and fans. In the regular sea- son, players try their hardest to earn their team a playoff spot in the postseason, but in All-Star games, they are playing for the prize money. Considering the average professional player makes $3.18 million a year, this is hardly something worth play- ing for. While the process of reorganizing the All-Star system may seem fruitless, the benefits of more fans paying big money to watch the best athletes play would surpass the initial struggles.