by Tuesday Morning Tailback
OK, full disclosure. I didn’t really watch the Pro Bowl. At least no more than five minutes of it. But within those five minutes I must have heard Chris Collinsworth spout three different times how this was the “best Pro Bowl he’s seen in years”. And this was still in the first quarter. The Pro Bowl used to be a nice little cap on the N.F.L. Season. It took place after the Superbowl in Hawaii and was a true reward to players who had excelled during the regular season. The week after the Superbowl up to the Pro Bowl ESPN used to air little competitions between the fellow Pro Bowlers. These were fun little competitions where the likes of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady would face off in skill drills like hitting targets with a football. These were usually laid back and fun just like the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately the ratings weren’t high enough for the N.F.L’s new revenue driven approach to running the league.
Recently, NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth told USAToday.com that the Pro Bowl was on life support. “Roger (Goodell) was very serious about potentially canceling the Pro Bowl because apparently it’s very expensive and isn’t of a ton of value to them,” Foxworth said. “To be honest with you, I was completely comfortable with eliminating it until I talked to the players, and they said they loved it and they want to be there.”Interestingly, the players weren’t crazy about the new-fangled Pro Bowl draft, that was a two-day, four-hour television event last week. Mostly because players didn’t want to be in the awkward position of having to hit their regular-season teammates. “That’s the only legitimate concern, and I completely understand it,” Foxworth said. “I was faced with the possibility of canceling the game or trying to make it interesting. If some of these conflicts that we create make it so we can’t go forward, then we’ll throw the game out.” Unfortunately all the fixes for the Pro Bowl have made it look worse then ever…literally. Their uniforms this year were horrendous and made them look like road workers. Secondly switching the Pro Bowl to occurring the week before the Superbowl and not after essentially punishes any players on either Super Bowl contenting team.
The new draft format really didn’t add anything to the game, except forcing people to root against their own teammates hitting each other maybe? While I’m on that subject why did Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders get to choose the teams? The N.F.L. let’s people vote in half of the Cowboys roster every year despite them not deserving to be there. Why not let people decide the teams for the Pro Bowl too? If the N.F.L. wants to make the Pro Bowl relevant or interesting they need to add stakes to the game. Make the outcome of the game decide which team A.F.C. or N.F.C. gets the home uniforms in the Superbowl or even better Home Field Advantage as the Super Bowl in New York could open the door to the game no longer being played at neutral venues. If the N.F.L. does not want to do something like that then they should just abandon the game and stop wasting peoples time with reflective neon green uniforms that shouldn’t even be worn on a college field.
Tuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.