5 Reasons Why the NFL Should Discontinue the Pro Bowl

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NFL Should Discontinue Pro Bowl

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pro Bowl has been the equivalent of the All-Star Game for the NFL since the beginning of the league. However, unlike the All-Star Games for the other major professional sports leagues, the Pro Bowl is played after the regular season is over instead of at the midway point of the season. This reason alone has caused the Pro Bowl to receive a lot of criticism over the years.

Roger Goodell and the NFL have tried many things over the years to repair the Pro Bowl's tattered image. These changes have included moving the game away from Hawaii to the site of the Super Bowl and moving the game from after the Super Bowl to the weekend in between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. However, none of those changes have really done anything to improve the quality of the game. The 2012 Pro Bowl game famously had fans booing the quality of play on the field where players were disinclined to tackling and big hits seen in a normal football game. Of course, all of this came after many of the fan voted players declined to participate in the game for one reason or another. Following the 2012 edition, commissioner Goodell publicly said that he would consider removing the game altogether.

For the 2014 Pro Bowl, the format has changed from AFC vs. NFC to two teams captained by legends Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, and picked through a schoolyard format. The two captains will pick players to be on their team regardless of conference.

Although these new changes may create more interest in the game than usual, the nature of the Pro Bowl game as it already is lends itself to apathy. A regular football fan doesn't want to watch watered down football with players who are good, but not the best. Therefore, the NFL should seriously consider shutting down the Pro Bowl game for good. Here are five reasons to support this claim.

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5. Fantasy Draft Format Makes Game Confusing

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The new fantasy football style draft format seems exciting on paper. But once the game begins, how will fans remember which player is on what team? At least with the AFC-NFC format, fans know which conferences the players play for. Plus, this new format might lend itself to some awkward moments. Won't fans find it odd when they see Tim Jennings covering Brandon Marshall or Derrick Johnson tackling Jamaal Charles? This will definitely be the case on several occasions involving teams with multiple Pro Bowl selections, such as the Kansas City Chiefs, with 10 players making the Pro Bowl.

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4. Poor Ratings

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For most professional sports leagues, such as the MLB and NBA, the All-Star Game is one of the highlights of the regular season, drawing high television ratings and allowing fans to vote to see their favorite players play together in one game. However, the opposite seems true for the NFL and the Pro Bowl, with even regular season games usually drawing higher ratings. Of course, a lot of this can be attributed to the popularity of the NFL; the primetime games draw higher ratings than even the most popular television shows. But still, the NFL has no reason to play a game that can't even generate more interest than a regular season game.

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3. Best Players Do Not Go

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Theoretically, the best players in the league should play in the Pro Bowl every year. However, some players such as Tom Brady make up an excuse, such as fatigue, to not attend the game. As a result, many underwhelming players get the title of Pro Bowler because players drop out of playing in the game. In this case, is it really still an honor to be called a Pro Bowler when the five or so players ahead of you dropped out of the game? The NFL needs to consider handing out recognition only to players who deserve it. Cutting the Pro Bowl would prevent undeserving players from calling themselves Pro Bowlers.

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2. Poor Quality of Play

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For some football fans, a lot of the appeal of football is seeing two grown men pound into each other play after play. However, after a long 16-week regular season, many of the players that make the trip just want to make it through the game without injury. As a result, the tackling in the game is poor and the teams are pretty much able to score at will. Thus, the Pro Bowl is nothing like a football game fans are accustomed to seeing. If the players don't even bother to tackle one another, what is the point of playing football?

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1. Poor Timing

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Ultimately, a lot of the problems the Pro Bowl faces is due to the fact that the game is played after the season is pretty much over. For players that lost in the playoffs, the sting of losing hasn't worn off yet, resulting in those players choosing not to play in the Pro Bowl. This year, for example, nine of the 10 San Francisco 49ers chosen for the game declined to attend following their emotional playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The end of the season is also a bad time for the game because fans are either focused on the Super Bowl, basketball season or the start of the next football season. Therefore, the Pro Bowl really is just a pointless game that, if removed, would draw very few murmurs and complaints from sports fans alike.