Let’s face it, the NFL Pro Bowl is the laughing stock of all sporting events and their all-star games. Instead of offering fans, which is really what the game is supposed to be all about, a good, entertaining football game, the Pro-Bowl is a joke. It is really more like an awards ceremony and is all about the players. They get a free trip to Hawaii, money based on whether their team wins or loses and a car for winning the MVP.
But there is no defense, none of the grind-it-out style of play football fans live for. Nope, it is just a relatively boring game with no sort of skills contests or anything unique to get people to watch.
And that is why despite adding tweeting kiosks so players could live-tweet the game, the ratings for the Pro Bowl are down. When it airs, that is if people even care enough to remember, it is routinely beat out by regular Sunday night programming despite it replacing NBC’s Sunday night game of the week, which is always a ratings goldmine.
And because of this, NFL execs have been debating for years what they should do about the Pro Bowl and how to make it more interesting. Players have even added their inputs suggesting ideas of a goal-post slam dunk contests and replacing the football game with a dodgeball contest.
Not perfect, but anything is better than what the NFL has now.
And while none of these suggestions made the cut, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter has announced that there are in fact changes coming to the Pro Bowl.
According to Schefter, the NFL is abandoning the traditional AFC vs. NFC format in exchange for a fantasy style 86-player draft. Seems like it has the potential to be pretty interesting, at least the draft part. But it gets better, because Jerry Rice and Deion “Primetime” Sanders are going to be the two draft captains.
Now that, that has potential.
The only problem is, what happens after the draft? After Sanders and Rice pick their teams, is the game still going to be played as it has always been, with very little defense and even less effort. Fans might tune in to watch the draft as two of the best at their positions of all-time trade barbs as they effectively value who is the best of the best, but when it is over, expect the televisions to go off.
I applaud the NFL for finally doing something to spice up the Pro Bowl, but they are a long way from having the perfect formula. This is a start, but there is a long way to go to make this event one that football fans are going to want to tune in to.