If you watched, you have to conclude that the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl was a Huge Success and a special tribute to the NFL and it’s history!

In an age recently characterized by disappointing NFL Pro Bowl‘s, tonight’s game was a huge success for the NFL and it’s tradition of honoring it’s best players.  Following last year’s debacle, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to waste my time tuning into this year’s Pro Bowl.  I had other choices!  I could catch up on a bit of work.  I could tune into some mundane movie that I’ve probably seen before.  But, I’m an NFL fan, and I wanted to see what type of show the NFL would produce.  I was totally prepared to be disappointed,

However, I witnessed tradition, competition and a love for the game.  I won’t declare it the best football game I’ve ever witnessed, but the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl is one to remember.

What made the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl Special?

1.  Commissioner Roger Goodell’s message to Pro Bowl participants. In a recent October comment, Goodell stated publicly that the NFL would consider dropping the Pro Bowl if the level of competition in the game didn’t improve.  Apparently, certain NFL Pro Bowl heeded Goodell’s warning.  And, if you happened to watch last year’s game, you probably understand why.  There were countless plays that looked like practice “walk throughs” an not football.

2. Peyton Manning’s Determination to make the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl a Competitive Game!  According to Mike Florio, Peyton Manning implored the players to provide full effort in order to keep Goodell from canceling the game.  And, the player’s listened.  I’ve never been a huge Peyton Manning fan.  He’s a great field general, but I’ve always thought of him as being a bit over hyped on pure football talent.  However, I have a renewed respect for Peyton.

Why?  Because Peyton Manning, unlike any other recent super star quarterback understands the tradition of the NFL and it’s tribute to it’s all star team.  Manning doesn’t miss a game.  If he’s invited, he participates.  I’ m a huge Green Bay Packer fan.  I could never understand why Brett Favre didn’t play in more Pro Bowls.  And, now Aaron Rogers seems to be following in his footsteps.  Tom Brady and most of the New England Patriots selected to this year’s Pro Bowl failed to show up.

Yeah, there are ton’s of arguments on why top NFL athletes shouldn’t risk injury in an exhibition game, but they are missing the point and passing up an opportunity that only Peyton Manning seems to understand.  And, as I listened to his interviews today, I finally understand why the NFL Pro Bowl is so important.  It enables a player to connect with both past and future of this great game.

There is no doubt that Peyton Manning is a first ballot hall of famer!  He doesn’t need to drag his family to Hawaii and risk injury.  He could be only one hard hit away from total paralysis. Certainly, he can afford to take his family, mine, yours and Eli’s to Hawaii for a little fun.  He is all about preserving NFL tradition and sharing it with younger players.

Nor does he view the NFL Pro Bowl in this negative light.  Manning is all about accentuating the positive, and by doing so, he is strengthening his NFL legacy.  He’s a leader unlike any other ever to play in the NFL.  It’s his leadership in the NFL and let’s call it “his off field” activity that should shape him as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.

 

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