Pro-Bowl
NFL.com

Tonight was the night nobody was waiting for, but maybe it won’t be as bad as year’s past. This time around fans watched the 2021 EA Madden Pro-Bowl. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. Just a bunch of current players, former players, and a couple of celebrities facing off in Madden 21. 

The only familiar part about the event is that players didn’t make any physical contact during the game, but only because it was done virtually. 

Here were the faces representing each conference:

AFC – Deshaun Watson, Derrick Henry, Keyshawn Johnson, and Snoop Dogg.

NFC – Kyler Murray, Jamal Adams, Bubba Wallace, and Marshawn Lynch.

So what made this ‘Pro-Bowl’ interesting to watch online compared to the traditional Pro-Bowl on television?

Well for one, both Snoop Dogg and Marshawn Lynch are walking memes and break the internet whenever they star in some other form of entertainment. Snoop Dogg had his own gameshow and even a cooking show with Martha Stewart a few years back.

Marshawn constantly has new sound bytes that go viral after appearances on other athletes’ podcasts and had an unforgettable journey outdoors with Bear Grylls.

Watching those two comedic powerhouses alone was enough to get me to watch the Madden live stream.

Aside from that, the regular Pro-Bowl format is a joke. The actual game itself is unbearable and the skill contests are mediocre at best. The NFL has marketed the game as being ‘all about fun’ when in reality, most fans want to see the best players go up against the best and have it mean something. In other words, people want to see competition, not a game of glorified flag football.

Since we didn’t get the usual abomination this year, the e-sports version sufficed just nicely in my mind. Here’s a brief recap:

Deshaun Watson looked like he was checking his phone for trade notifications and Kyler Murray definitely put his gaming chair at the tallest height.

Jamal Adams ramped up his usual trash talk which was nice, and Bubba Wallace was cracking up at Marshawn’s chirps aimed back at Adams.

The added insights from other former players like Michael Vick and Chad Ochocinco were nice as well, but still, the best parts were when the game went haywire and we witnessed the dramatic reactions from the players. Funny enough, it just seemed to me like these guys exposed what most fans hated about Madden 21 when it came out.

Live streaming and the esports community have been booming the last few years, with viewership numbers making Hollywood blockbuster films look like a joke. Younger generations now look up to names like Ninja, Tfue, and Nickmercs along with their favorite athletes, so this crossover makes perfect sense. 

Now more than ever, people need video games just to stay sane in quarantine, so watching a few of their favorite players and celebrities go at it in a game of Madden is a nice change. 

Could the NFL have chosen more relevant celebrities for younger audiences? Sure. But in my opinion, Snoop and Marshawn make a lethal combo, and even if the game of Madden was boring, their interactions certainly won’t be. 

In the age of people watching other people play video games, maybe we should petition for this to be the permanent Pro-Bowl format. I know I’ll certainly be looking forward to some Beast Mode sound bytes later tonight and into tomorrow.

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