The NFL Pro Bowl lost much of its luster years ago as over time it transitioned from an end-of-season all-star game into something that barely resembled football and was essentially unwatchable.
The NFL finally saw the light and turned this year’s game into what the league describes as a “week-long celebration of player skills” that will culminate in a flag football game on February 5 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
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That does not diminish the honor of being recognized as one of the best at your position, as Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, left guard Joel Bitonio and defensive end Myles Garrett are inarguably among the league’s elite at their respective spots.
That is not the case at every position, however, with the quarterback spot of the AFC team being a prime example this year.
With Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills deciding to skip the festivities so that he can play in the 2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am golf tournament, the league found itself in a third quarterback to fill out the roster.
So they naturally turned to … Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley, who in four games filling in for injured quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 658 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions while posting a quarterback rating of 77.2.
The league needs to do what it has to do to keep the week from being a complete farce and having actual NFL players in attendance is a major step in that direction. But the choice of Huntley is an odd one, to say the least, especially given that they could have given Cleveland quarterback Jacoby Brissett a call.
In 11 games, Brissett passed for 2,608 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions while posting a quarterback rating of 88.9. Those may not be the most glamorous stats, but they far exceed what Huntley accomplished and it would have been a nice capstone to Brissett’s season with the Browns.
Who knows? Maybe the NFL did give Brissett a call and, like Allen, he had better things to do this week.
But seeing “Pro Bowl quarterback” forever listed next to Huntley’s name should serve as yet another reminder that the league’s annual all-star game is not what it once was.