The Pro Bowl remains on the endangered species list.
In what hardly will classify as the most dramatic revelation of the year, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday at a town hall meeting sponsored by SiriusXM radio that the Pro Bowl could be abandoned, eventually.
“It’s really tough to force competition and after a long season to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level that they play is pretty tough,” Goodell said. “And I made it very clear last year because I really thought the quality of the game last year was way below standards and if we’re going to play like that we should just eliminate the game.”
He’s right. No player who has made it through a long season of games that count healthy enough to play another game has interest in playing hard in a game that doesn’t count.
So get rid of it. Be done with it. Yes, it will result in a lost opportunity to hit the cash register, given that plenty of folks will watch bad football involving good players. But if it doesn’t do justice to the shield, then it should be abandoned, permanently.
The problem is that the players still want to play the game — since it entails a free week in Hawaii and, in its current form, a game of two-hand touch in full pads. And as long as people keep watching it, it will be hard to stop playing it.
“I was leaning that way,” Goodell said. “The players asked if they could take another crack at it and they wanted to try to work to make the game more competitive. Obviously, I support that but if we can’t accomplish that kind of a standard I’m inclined not to play it any longer.”
Thus, this year’s edition could go a long way toward determining the future of the game. Which means that even more of us will tune in to see just how much better than really bad it will be.
Which will make it even harder to pull the plug, no matter how badly it needs to be pulled.