This afternoon while the Speed/Fox NASCAR personalities were comparing the Daytona 500 to the Superbowl (a comparison that I don’t necessarily agree with) my thoughts drifted. I began comparing the Bud Shootout and the Sprint All Star Race to the NFL Pro Bowl. NASCAR seems to try its hardest to compete with stick and ball sports, especially the NFL and in one respect, they certainly put out a better product than the NFL and many other stick and ball sports do: All Star Events.
This year, I couldn’t get past the first quarter of the NFL Pro Bowl. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed professional athletes put on a less inspired, lackadaisical performance. They played with a lack of pride and were undeserving of the term professional. Essentially, most of the players treated it as a paid vacation and didn’t care whether they won or lost the game. I turned it off before the end of the first quarter and probably won’t watch again. That says a lot considering that football is one of the few sports I pay attention to. The poor quality of play and lack of effort from the players even prompted the NFL Commissioner to mention doing away with the Pro Bowl if that was how it was going to be played!
On the other hand, NASCAR’s All Star Events are always exciting. The drivers and teams put a lot of effort into the races even though they don’t pay points and don’t have any bearing on the Sprint Cup Championship. Sure, there are large purses to be won but most of the drivers would drive just as hard to win if they weren’t paying anything. They consider themselves to be racing against the best of the best and race for pride. They race hard and race to win.
In this case, the NFL and their players and teams need to look at what NASCAR and their drivers and teams are doing. If you are going to compare the Super Bowl and Daytona 500, you can certainly compare the Pro Bowl and the Bud Shootout or Sprint All Star Race and in this comparison the fans have a clear winner: NASCAR’s All Star Events. If you’re going to play the game, play with pride and play to win. Don’t give the fans, the reason you all have jobs, a travesty like that game again.