The NFL needs to bring the bench press back to Pro Bowl weekend

The list of events for the Pro Bowl games was released on Wednesday. This annual celebration of the NFL’s top players has turned into summer camp. Like summer camp for kids, not training camp or an Illinois music festival. The players compete in events like dodgeball and tug of war, and the game is now flag football instead of tackle.

There are ways to make the Pro Bowl exciting. Holding the event in Orlando is certainly not one of them. It is a lovely city, but Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami are all markets with NFL teams. The players who have children can take them to Disney World on their own time. Also, now that the NFL’s all-star weekend is the “Pro Bowl Games” as opposed to “the Pro Bowl game,” it is time for the return of one of the league’s best ideas: Roger Goodell, bring back the bench-press contest.

One of the most memorable moments in NFL history was Larry Allen’s performance in that event during the 2006 Pro Bowl weekend. For those who somehow have never seen this video on social media, the contest was not the highest single max bench press. It was like combine week all over again for the participants. Whoever pressed 225 pounds the most times was the winner.

Allen got that barbell off of his chest 43 consecutive times. ESPN’s Chris Berman gave a perfect description of this legendary performance right after its conclusion. He said that the first 30 reps, “it was like he was lifting a salad fork.”

This is one of the most impressive athletic feats I have ever seen. Usain Bolt running 9.58, 100-meter dash, Tyson Fury getting up after getting knocked down twice in the same round by Deontay Wilder, Vince Carter jumping over Frédéric Weis’ head, and Allen having an easier time lifting 225 pounds than the average person wheeling a 50-pound suitcase, that’s the list.

Records, however, are meant to be broken and I want to see some of the current NFL behemoths try and top Allen’s legendary mark. How about Aaron Donald? His workout videos are almost as much fun to watch as his tossing around opposing offensive linemen. And Trent Williams is a human snow plow when the San Francisco 49ers run behind him.

Penei Sewell, Dexter Lawrence, Frank Ragnow, Tyron Smith, there are some enormous men in the NFL who regularly dominate players of similar size. Watching two teams of men that size try to pull each other over a line in a tug of war could be entertaining. Hopefully, the rope doesn’t snap because two teams of linemen pulling in opposite directions is quite a bit of pressure.

The Pro Bowl games are one instance in which the NFL could use a little less creativity. Very strong people play the sport. How about having them compete in the workout that is most popular at the health club?

For all of the complaints that the commissioner has about the Pro Bowl, he refuses to bring back the best event in the history of the weekend. Goodell, give us the bench press competition. It’s not hard.

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