NFL's Changes To Pro Bowl Will Do Little To Attract Fans

By Andrew Fisher
NFL Pro Bowl
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been clear for awhile now that the NFL needs do something about the Pro Bowl. Their annual All-Star game is just not that appealing to fans, but it somehow still draws good ratings. I attribute that to the fact that America will watch anything to do with the NFL, but it also doesn’t change the fact that the game is uninteresting.

With that in mind, the NFL has changed the format so it will no longer be NFC vs. AFC. Instead they will use a fantasy draft like setup, where all the players are in a pool and two captains will pick their teams. Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders are reportedly the inaugural captains for 2014.

There are also no more kickoffs in the annual game, possession will change at the end or each quarter and rosters will consist of 43 players per team.

You do have to give the NFL credit for trying here, but this really doesn’t change the root of the problem, which is that the game sucks. No one cares about an exhibition football game, because all the physicality that fans love, is removed. That’s the real problem that the NFL will never be able to solve. Still, the league clearly thinks it has to have an annual All-Star game for some reason – even though the fans wouldn’t miss it one bit.

I believe that the NFL needs to re-create some of the old skills challenges they used to have and bring those back to make the Pro Bowl feel more like an event. In MLB and the NBA, it’s the All-Star break and All-Star weekend. The NFL has the Pro Bowl, which just doesn’t have that big event feel to it. Unfortunately, a draft system won’t change that.


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