Ranking pro sports' all-star games
The NFL’s annual all-star game will have a whole new look this season, after Wednesday’s news that the Pro Bowl rosters will now be decided by a fantasy-style draft. The new plan scraps the old AFC vs. NFC format with the hope of revitalizing one of the least interesting all-star formats in major professional sports. So, will the Pro Bowl be better than any of the other all-star games with the latest changes? Here’s where amNewYork ranks it among the big four, taking into account the festivities peripheral to the games themselves.
No. 1: NBA All-Star Weekend
Defense wins championships, but there’s no championship at stake in the All-Star Game, so why bother with ‘D’? Unlike the other sports, most of the participants here are true stars, too, which is appropriate for a star-driven league. Aside from the game, the other competitions are hit or miss and have mostly peaked years ago. Still, the dunk contest provides the occasional memorable slam. Even with the miserable Shooting Stars challenge, the NBA takes the all-star crown.
No. 2: MLB All-Star Break
Years ago, all the other sports were a distant second to baseball’s Midsummer Classic. Interleague play changed that, and the sheer number of players on the roster (78 players were All-Stars earlier this month at Citi Field) means many players are far from stars (Steve Delabar, Travis Wood). The Home Run Derby is fun for the first few minutes, and the Futures Game is a treat for fan bases eyeing tomorrow’s All-Stars. But who’s watching the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game?
No. 3: NHL All-Star Weekend
If hockey ever has one of these again — the lockout nixed last year’s festivities and the Winter Olympics will prevent it again this year — it’s not the worst of the four. The game’s format has changed a few times in the past 15 years, and the last outing in 2012 featured a fantasy draft of teams. Like the NBA, defense is optional, but that makes for fewer sensational saves. The Skills Competition is probably the best of this group’s All-Star peripherals.
No. 4: NFL Pro Bowl
Even with the revamped format — which also eliminated kickoffs — the NFL is dead last. Few players truly want to be there, and that’s saying something, considering the game has returned to Hawaii. Other than the players who are fantasy football studs, viewers aren’t interested in watching their Pro Bowl center block the Pro Bowl nose tackle. And there’s no skills competition, which is highly disappointing. Hopefully, the NFL isn’t expecting the new Pro Bowl to be a hit, because it won’t be.