Pro Bowl 2012: Did the Twitter Experiment Work?
During the Pro Bowl on Sunday, the NFL bent its normally very strict rules banning any tweeting during a game. Perhaps in an effort to bring more attention to a game sometimes considered gimmicky and frivolous, the League tried to give fans more access to the thoughts of the players by letting them express themselves on social media.
The League even put computers on each sideline so that players could easily access Twitter during the game pitting the AFC against the NFC in Hawaii.
The NFL’s rules regarding social media are that players must refrain from using Twitter beginning 90 minutes before a game, and lasting all the way through post-game interviews.
So how did the social media experiment turn out? Overall, tweets were relatively mild except for one interaction by Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher.
San Diego Chargers’ Eric Weddle opened up the game by tweeting about the National Anthem: "Now that's what I call a pre-game performance that was beautiful #godblessamerica."
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He later added: “Come on AFC let's step it up!”
Saints’ Jimmy Graham also tweeted before the game, writing "Almost Kick off time at Aloha stadium...excited to play in my first Pro Bowl...go NFC. YOLO"
Added Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace: “Having a great time out here with some awesome players!! Plus we get to tweet on top of that!!!!”
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had a stand-out performance during the game, catching six passes for 176 yards and a Pro Bowl-record four touchdowns, also took some time to tweet.
“Miami Dolphins. It's our time!! We will win,” he wrote.
Later, he added, “The ball just fell in my hands!! All glory to god. I promise it wasn't me. Fins up!”
While most tweets were pretty tame during the game, Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher took his tweets in a direction that the League would have rather avoided.
He first tweeted, “$500 to whoever predicts the final score.Must be my follower.$1000 if you predict the score and MVP. deadline halftime.”
But then later had to rescind the offer. “just found from the NFL i can't make that offer... sorry. i'll think of something for you all later that won't get me in trouble,” he wrote.
Finally, it looks like he came to an agreement with the league, writing, “autographed pro bowl jersey to the 1st person that predicts final score! 3rd Quarter deadline must 1 of my followers!”
The 2012 Pro Bowl game ended with the AFC winning 59-41.