NFL Pro Bowl: Playing College All-Stars Would Give This Game Much-Needed Juice

By Mike Gibson
1972 Chicago Tribune Charities College All-Star Game
Getty Images

When the captains go to midfield for Sunday’s NFL Pro Bowl Game, they won’t be choosing sides;  that was done already earlier this week.

Let’s face it: The Pro Bowl has been on a decline for years, and this year’s glorified pickup game will be rock bottom. When you hit rock bottom you go to rehab, and that’s exactly what this game needs to do.  Any rooting interest for fans of AFC teams and NFC teams is gone. The game needs an infusion of new blood, and where better to get that blood than a donation from the young guys?

College All-Stars played the NFL champions annually from 1934 through 1976 with a one-year exception (1974) in an August exhibition in Chicago. A modified version of that game would inject some much-needed juice into the Pro Bowl and TV ratings the Sunday before the Super Bowl.

Imagine a team of projected first and second-round draft choices with something to prove against a group of NFL stars who have viewed the All-Star game as pretty much of a joke for the last 20 or so years. The college kids will be playing to improve their NFL draft standing; the pros would be playing for the pride of not losing to college guys.

College guys have beaten the pros as recently as 1963 when a team coached by Otto Graham beat Vince Lombardi’s storied Green Bay Packers, 20-17.

The week before the Super Bowl would be a perfect time for both college and pro players. The Pro Bowl date is set for the pros, and the college kids are working out to get ready for the NFL Scouting Combine. There’s no better NFL Combine than a real game against NFL players. No mistake about it; this would be a competitive, knock-down, drag-out game the way football should be played.

The NFL and the NCAA should get together to make this happen no later than the day after tomorrow.

Mike Gibson is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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