At one time in major professional sports, All-Star games were seen as the pinnacle of the season’s mid-point– drawing the attention of fans who wouldn’t tune in for a mundane contest in the middle of the season.
This isn’t true anymore as the NBA All-Star Weekend has lost its lustre, the MLB All-Star game is flat-out boring, the NHL All-Star game is full of gimmickry, and the NFL Pro Bowl, is, well, the Pro Bowl.
Apparently the lack of fan interest and dismissive attitude from players has made its mark as reports are suggesting the NFL is moving to suspend the Pro Bowl game beginning with the late January 2013 contest scheduled in New Orleans one week prior to the Super Bowl.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has been vocal about his displeasure with the lack of competitiveness in the game– among those few who decide to play anymore–and a desire to do away with the game due to lack of value for fans.
Instead of doing away with the game all-together it is more reasonable to suspend it from a business perspective for the NFL, so the option still exists to name a Pro Bowl team at the end of the regular season, and therefore allow players to have incentive clauses for this accomplishment worked into their contracts.
If the NFL were to try and eliminate the Pro Bowl designation as a whole, they would have a fight on their hands from the NFL Players’ Association who will balk at anything done to prevent its members from earning additional dollars based on incentives like the designation. One has to figure neither party wants another protracted battle on their hands given the contentious nature of the recent lockout negotiations.
Let’s face it– the Pro Bowl has been an afterthought for plenty of time now, and the league has decided to react accordingly. No one wants to play in the game after 20 weeks of grueling play for their teams, and fans have limited interest when the level of play is low and lacks intensity.
It’s a win-win for both the league and the players to suspend the game– the league no longer has to worry whether they are delivering an inferior product which includes what are supposed to be the games best-and-brightest and the players can continue to enjoy the recognition and compensation which comes with being named a Pro Bowler without the hassle of playing one more game that means nothing.
I doubt that the suspension of the Pro Bowl will become a precedent for other leagues to consider the viability of their own All-Star contests, but you have to figure it couldn’t hurt.
More articles on the possible suspension of the NFL Pro Bowl:
NFL moving to suspend Pro Bowl: http://es.pn/KdmtPr
NFL reportedly moving to suspend Pro Bowl: http://bit.ly/IqmcqZ