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Shutdown Corner

Peyton Manning implores players to play hard in Pro Bowl to save the game

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Judging by the effort in the Pro Bowl recently, it is reasonable to assume the players wouldn't mind seeing it go. Yet, the highest profile player at the game is fighting to keep the Pro Bowl alive.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, in what has become an annual speech at the Pro Bowl before practices begin, asked the players to play hard and save the game, according to two separate reports from NFL.com reporters.

The NFL.com story said Manning made "an impassioned plea for a return to a time when players cared about the NFL's all-star game and played at full speed."

Last year's Pro Bowl was awful, a glorified walk-through practice that became a running joke for how little the players seemed to care. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell almost canceled the game after that, but it's back for another year. The NFL hopes to decide by April if the all-star game will be back after that. The Associated Press reported that decision will be made based on the effort of the players in this Sunday's Pro Bowl. So if the players want to do away with the Pro Bowl, here's their chance.

While the game hasn't been a competitive affair for a while, it draws viewers. Last year's game got a 7.9 rating, a huge number. The NBA All-Star game, for example, last year got a 5.4 rating - and that was the game's second-best rating since 2005. So many NFL fans do apparently care about the game. As does Manning. And the NFL would presumably hate to discontinue a game that has to make the league and its television partners pretty good money at those viewership numbers.

But will enough players put forth the effort and save the game on Sunday?

Eddie George and Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports discussed how to fix the game:

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