10 Events That Would Make the NFL Pro Bowl Better
10 Events that Would Make the NFL Pro Bowl Better
Quite simply, the NFL Pro Bowl is a dying event. The NFL has tried numerous things to gain viewership to an event that isn't very watchable. The Pro Bowl used to be held a week after the Super Bowl, but when the dismal ratings continued, they decided to move the game to the week before the Super Bowl.
The ratings continued to slump, so the NFL moved the game to the location of the Super Bowl the week before. That idea backfired as well as the players thought the field was getting torn up, so the NFL moved the game back to Hawaii.
The most recent idea to spice up the very bland Pro Bowl was when the NFL decided to take a page out of the NHL's playbook and have a "Fantasy Draft"-style Pro Bowl. They selected two Hall of Fame players, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, and had them select their entire teams. Offensive line all the way to the team's kickers. Even that didn't garner much attention.
The NFL seems to almost be out of ideas to get the Pro Bowl to be more than just a side note, but it shouldn't be that way. The other major sports leagues have no problems having their All-Star events be a bright spot for their season, the only difference is that the NFL's All-Star event takes place after the season and not during.
So what can the NFL do to make the Pro Bowl a more viewer-friendly event and garner more interest? It could be as easy as looking at the NHL, MLB and NBA all star festivities to get some ideas. I am going to give you 10 events that the NFL should adopt to make the Pro Bowl not just a one-day event, but a multiple-day schedule that will be fun to watch, and will make the event unique enough to garner more viewers.
Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+.
10 - NFL Quarterback Challenge
Most NFL fans can remember the classic quarterback challenges in the summer months when you'd see a skills competition amongst the NFL's premier signal callers. Whether it was an obstacle course that ended in one of those chalk-tipped footballs being thrown at a moving target downfield, or testing to see which quarterback can throw the football the furthest down the field. This event would be must-watch TV for true football fans.
9 - Fastest Man in the NFL
The NFL has some of the fastest people on the planet, and some of their athletes were also track stars in college. When the 40-yard dash is considered to be so important, why not have a fastest man competition? Instead of having individual players running one at a time, have the players run in heats based off their combine time and see who truly is the fastest man in the NFL.
8 - Strongest NFL Player
Sometimes these skills competition lean heavily to the skill players. This event would be for the hogs on the line and those linebackers who roam the middle of the defense. Taking a page out of the combine's playbook, the players would have a bench press set at 225 pounds and would see how many repetitions the individual player could muster. This event could be made even more versatile with the players having to do a 30-yard tire flip and even a hammer throw to test for all-around strength as well as deciding who is the NFL's strongest player.
7 - Trick Field Goal Competition
It is amazing what some of the place kickers and punters can do with a football. It goes beyond drop kicks and ventures into the world of golf with players drawing and fading the ball like you wouldn't imagine. This trick-shot competition could involve a number of things. Players standing in front of the kickers, obstacles that they kick around. Everything is fair game in this competition to see who has the best trick field goal kick.
6 - Best Hands in the NFL
The NFL has over-emphasized the skill players in the league for years now, and this would be the perfect event for those tight ends and wide receivers who are known for their great hands. This event would go from the jugs machine and one-handed catches to having deep passes thrown where they have to walk the tight rope and keep their toes in along the back of the end zone. It'd be entertaining and a true test to see who has the best hands in the NFL.
5 - Team Obstacle Course
The NFL would take their Pro Bowl rosters and divide them into teams. Each team would consist of two linemen, a wide receiver, quarterback and so on. Each team would have to run an obstacle course that would consist of speed, strength and coordination. The teams would be timed to see who could get through this obstacle course the fastest to decide the winning team.
4 - Relay Race
Similar to the relays seen at both the Summer and Winter Olympics, the players would be put on four-man teams and would run a relay race. This race would not be done on a track, but on the football field. The length of the run would consist of what position the player plays. Yes, even linemen would be on a relay team and although they might only have to run 30 yards and defensive backs might have to run 75 yards, it would all be relevant as a team. For fun, throw in some mascots and cheerleaders and see who comes out as the winner.
3 - Alumni Skills Challenge
In terms of skills challenges, how great would it be to see some recently retired NFL players competing against one another for old times sake. Think Cris Carter, Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens competing in a "Best Hands" competition, and then having Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb and Steve Young all throwing darts in the QB skills competition. That would make great television.
2 - Strongest Arm Competition
Every year you hear announcers talking about who has the strongest arm in the NFL. When Brett Favre was still playing, he was always amongst those who could sling the pigskin the hardest. Now its Colin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers who are among the league's hardest gunslingers. Why not have a competition where we settle this once and for all. Get a radar gun and sling the rock as hard as you can. Plain and simple.
1 - 7 on 7 Flag Football Game
In terms of high school football, the 7-on-7 format is unbelievable in terms of popularity. Players play 7-on-7 all year round and colleges are now even watching these games as recruiting opportunities. Why not have the NFL players play a 7-on-7 flag football game and highlight nothing but their skill. No tackling, just flags. Some might say this is the future of the NFL, but in this circumstance, it would be just another event in what would be a very entertaining series of competitions that would make the Pro Bowl better and more watchable.
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