The week before the Super Bowl used to just be a week off for football, but that is no longer the case. Now, in hopes of drawing more fans, the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl is the week before the Super Bowl and still, there is absolutely no enthusiasm when it comes to it.
Part of that might just be since football is such a team sport and teams want to make it to the Super Bowl. Again, football is a sport with a lot of injuries, so players do not want to risk the possibility of getting hurt in a game that really means absolutely nothing to them.
The New England Patriots are just one of the several teams with a handful of players not playing in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl this season, and part of it is as simple as they really were not expecting to be there. They were expecting to win the Super Bowl this season. That did not happen.
The Patriots had seven players picked to the game, and none of them are going. For the most part though, they have logical reasons to not attend, and it seems strange that they would be getting any backlash across the country for not wanting to play in such a meaningless game, according to ESPN.
Five of the seven Patriots selected to the game including quarterback Tom Brady, defensive end Chandler Jones, tight end Rob Gronkowski, special teamer Matthew Slater, and linebacker Jamie Collins, were listed on the injury report last week with one or more issues each. They all ended up playing last Sunday, but they might not have been 100 percent and the last thing they want to do is make anything they have worse when they do not have to play.
In addition, Jones had an incident that involved the police and synthetic marijuana that he really has not addressed, so he might not want to deal with that, according to The Boston Herald.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski took his team’s loss especially hard because he missed an extra point in the game that potentially cost it for them. Of course, the game cannot be boiled down to one play but if he hit that, certainly the Pats would have made it into overtime, The Boston Globe reported.
That only leaves Malcolm Butler, who did not really give an explanation as to why he is not playing, but none of his teammates are playing in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl this season, which might be why he has decided not to participate.
Commentary by Tom Joyce