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Pro Bowl was likely never going away

Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald AP

In hindsight, it was stupid to believe that Commissioner Roger Goodell seriously considered suspending the Pro Bowl.  Warts and all, it has become the highest-rated all-star game.  And the NFL isn’t in the business of giving money back to its business partners when the national broadcast inventory shrinks by one game.

Instead, Goodell likely knew that huffing and puffing would get the NFLPA’s attention, prompting changes aimed at improving the game — and likewise creating the impression that the NFL is willing to work with the players in order to preserve something that the players very much wanted to maintain, especially since it provides for the player and his spouse a paid Hawaiian vacation plus (in 2013) a $52,000 check if a member of the winning team, and a $25,000 check if part of the losing team.

Still, it was the NFL’s call.  Under Title 38 of the CBA, the league has the ability to dump the Pro Bowl game in each and every season through 2021:  “In any League Year, the NFL may elect, in its sole discretion, not to hold a Pro Bowl game or to replace the Pro Bowl game with another event that recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding NFL players, provided that the NFL will consult with the NFLPA prior to making its determination, and that players are nonetheless selected for such recognition in accordance with Section 2 above, and paid the Pro Bowl incentive bonus, if any, in their Player Contract, for such selection.”

So the NFL didn’t have to keep the Pro Bowl for 2013, and it doesn’t have to in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.  While the league could still scuttle the game next year, we fully expect, at most, more huffing and puffing.

For more, here’s some rambling from today’s PFT Live.

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10 Responses to “Pro Bowl was likely never going away”
  1. Ghost Rat says: May 31, 2012 4:28 PM

    I would love for the NFL Pro Bowl to be a game worth watching. But without players from Super Bowl teams, and with rules that make the game nearly unwatchable, I am just not sure what the point is.

    Is there an answer?

  2. sledgehorn says: May 31, 2012 4:44 PM

    The NFL needs to create a fun atmosphere again.
    It needs to be after the Super Bowl. Not having the best players from the best teams is stupid.
    It needs to become mandatory, or at least so important that every player with a belly-ache can skip it.
    They need to bring back the fun and games before hand. The bench press contest, the fastest man races, even the kicking challenges were cool. I enjoyed being able to see who could throw the farthest every year.
    It made it personable, it was fun listening to Akers and Vinateri talk about the Super Bowl that year. It was fun watching Leftwich try and do the agility course.
    Bring back the fun, the game should be a celebration not an ordeal.

  3. mark0226 says: May 31, 2012 4:55 PM

    They could eliminate the game and replace it with some type of all-star competition, similar to the home run derby in baseball or slam dunk contest in basketball. Turn it into a series of athletic competitions, like strongest man, longest throw, most accurate.

  4. monkeyhateclean says: May 31, 2012 5:06 PM

    Even if the players actually WANTED to hit as if the outcome mattered, the game would still suck because until the other major sports, football just doesn’t lend itself to throwing a bunch of players together, letting it rip, and expecting a good game. Its too centered on teamwork, cohesion, 11 guys on the same page.

    Baseball boils down to just a pitcher vs a hitter. Basketball is geared so that extremely good players can be tossed together, plus, its mostly for showing off.
    Don’t watch hockey, but its probably not unlike basketball in the way that the best players are good enough that their individual skills can still shine.

  5. pixelito says: May 31, 2012 5:10 PM

    Considering the ratings they get for the freaking draft, the NFL should be able to figure out how to market a game featuring the league’s best players in the sports vacuum of February.

  6. hugejazz says: May 31, 2012 5:21 PM

    I’m a die-hard NFL fan but if they play or not I still won’t watch it. It’s just not worth it.

  7. baddorange says: May 31, 2012 6:03 PM

    BORING

  8. 808raiderinparadise says: May 31, 2012 6:33 PM

    Being that I live in Hawaii and the amount of $ that in genarates and the amount of kids organizations they help, its a great thing.

    The players enjoy themsleves and cheerleaders to PR people to video crews all get some time in HI ….. and the fans/family enojy its to the fullest.

    Its a very special event for Hawaii and every year I have new stories about meeting players, partying with them, autographs, etc ….

    The city if vibrant that week.

    Bad things:

    MUST be after the probowl.

    MUST be a better product to the game viewing.

  9. htowntexan says: May 31, 2012 8:50 PM

    Sounds like a bounty program to me. Paying the winners more than the losers. The financial incentive is there. Hopefully the comish suspends himself for the year. Of course he would hear the appeal.

  10. vincentbojackson says: May 31, 2012 9:27 PM

    This year’s Pro Bowl had better ratings than the NBA Finals and the World Series.

    Did you honestly believe they were ever going to put a bullet in that cash cow?

    Keep in mind, all the people crying about how bad the game was this year still watched it. How else would they be able to have an opinion?

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