The NFL Needs To Get Rid Of The Pro-Bowl
By Brian Miller
The NFL wants you to watch the Pro-Bowl. They want you have a little fun and watch the biggest bore fest the NFL has to offer. This Sunday the annual Pro-Bowl will be played in Arizona a week ahead of the Super Bowl and the NFL has moved the time to 8:00 eastern where they believe a primetime slot will make it more important.
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There was a time that the Pro-Bowl was something to watch. It was that last chance to see some of your favorite players before the league went into off-season mode. It also occurred after the Super Bowl and you just had that feeling as a fan that finishing up the league year with a trip to Hawaii was something special. It’s not anymore.
Let’s start with the game itself as if it were a game at all. The league has changed the rules so much that the game plays more like an arena league game. Last year only 43 points were scored combined, in the year before that 97 were scored and prior to that 100 points were scored between both teams. It’s basically watching quarterbacks drop back and throw a deep ball to a receiver that the cornerbacks are not allowed to hit.
So we know that the game play rules have changed but so has the rosters. Year in and year out more and more players are dropping out of the P-B and more and more replacements are being added. This year alone Andy Dalton has been added despite having a very average year. It’s one thing to see a guy take the game off because he is injured but some players simply don’t want to go.
Making the Pro-Bowl even more of a joke is the insistence that two former players serve as captains and “draft” their teams from a pool of not AFC vs. NFC but a mixture of all players regardless of conference. This year the Dolphins will see Brent Grimes and Cameron Wake going up against offensive guard Mike Pouncey because they were drafted onto different pro-bowl teams. Say what? O.k. it’s not a surprise as this is year two they have done this but it still amazes me they call it a game.
The NFL loves this format so much, or are simply trying to convince it’s fan base to love it that they have moved the 2nd half of the “draft” to a live event. I know the NFL is popular but really? I can hardly sit through 30 minutes of Michael Irvin talking on a pre-game show so now I’m supposed to sit and watch him draft players to form a Pro-Bowl team?
The NFL should simply do away with the game and eventually they probably will. It is going to take just one catastrophic injury to a major impact player in the exhibition game for the NFL to close it down. Attendance has dwindled year after year and is now down to around 47,000.
What they need to do is take away the voting by the players and by the fans as both tend to be far more biased than the coaches. They should have a group similar to the HOF election committee that votes on who goes in and who does not. Oh wait, that would be the AP All-Pro squad. Those getting elected to the Pro-Bowl should receive a bonus, a jersey, get invited to Hawaii for a week, and then have a festival that includes a large assortment of fan interaction events. Minus the game. Golf tournaments, dinners, autograph sessions, skill drill contests instead of the game. Fans will come out and support that and the Pro-Bowl becomes what is was intended to be, an All-Star event.
What do you think about the Pro-Bowl? Should they keep it, retool it, or dump it?