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Pro Bowl remains in trouble, supposedly

0e6ac_pro-bowl-2013-getty Getty Images

The league continues to huff and puff about the Pro Bowl, even as the TV audience blows the doors off the numbers generated by the World Series.

More huffing and puffing is expected this week in Boston, at the quarterly league meetings.

Yes, it’s become fashionable to wring hands and gnash teeth about the Pro Bowl.  The consternation, of course, has served only to generate more interest in the inherently pointless exhibition, which exposes healthy players unnecessarily to injury.

The problem is that the players don’t play the game hard, and they shouldn’t.  To get through a regular season and (for many) postseason unscathed and then to risk spending the offseason in rehab makes no sense, especially for players due to become free agents.

There are two ways to improve the game — devise a strategy for making the players play harder, or come up with a way to make a half-speed game of modified two-hand touch seem more interesting.  The possibility of letting designated captains pick teams regardless of conference affiliation would fall into the latter category.  Only a dramatic increase in the money paid to the winning team would result in players playing harder.

Still, the chances of the game being canceled are roughly equivalent to the chances of a team moving to L.A. in the foreseeable future.  The league will keep talking about both, and the league surely will actually accomplish neither.

The Pro Bowl provides televised content for which the networks pay real money.  As long as the ratings, and thus the money, are there, the Pro Bowl will remain.

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70 Responses to “Pro Bowl remains in trouble, supposedly”
  1. packerbackernj says: May 20, 2013 3:05 PM

    Pro Bowl is about as fun to watch as if it were all the players go bowling. Just about as much contact too.

  2. bryanwenzel says: May 20, 2013 3:09 PM

    The pro bowl in its current format should go.

    You’re taking ‘the best’ *snicker* and throwing them into a meaningless game, where they spent the whole year in their teams system, locker room, and offensive/defensive scheme, only now its unfamiliar team-mates, and coaches, and it just makes no bloody sense.

    Have the starting rosters of both sides have a vacation to Hawaii like now, and have them sit down to play one giant MMO-style Madden game, and use THAT as the final score. Same travel, same checks, full effort, no injuries.

  3. longislandcowboysfan33 says: May 20, 2013 3:09 PM

    Can’t say I watch it anymore, but it would still be a shame to see it go.

    If they do drop it .. bring back the challenges they used to do back in the day on ABC. 40 yd dash, strongest bench, QB challenge etc.

  4. northstarnic says: May 20, 2013 3:12 PM

    Amazing that this event makes anybody any money. Incredibly boring, even by all star game standards. I haven’t watched a pro bowl in 20-25 years. Even as a teenager I had good enough judgement to not care.

  5. musicman495 says: May 20, 2013 3:14 PM

    This story is a longer soap opera than the Jets.

    For Pete’s sake, put it back in Hawaii the week after the Super Bowl and leave it there, make the difference in prize money between the winners and losers great enough that players will care about the outcome, and leave it alone. If you want to change the team makeup to the hockey model of captains selecting players, fine. Whatever. Those who hate the game have a First Amendment right not to care or watch. Obviously, a heckuva lot of people do care and watch and should not have to put up with this baloney of “will it or won’t it be cancelled” every year. Another brilliant screw up brought to you by Roger Goodell.

  6. asimonetti88 says: May 20, 2013 3:21 PM

    I wouldn’t be terribly upset if they got rid of the actual game. They should just continue to have fans vote for the Pro Bowlers, and just make the distinction of Pro Bowler the same as any other award list, like All-Pro.

  7. brianjoates says: May 20, 2013 3:21 PM

    The best Pro Bowl was the one in Miami. The game should be played the week before the SB and in the same city. It is two weeks of celebration of the season and its concluding with the final game you see by crowning a new champion.

  8. ozymandias121 says: May 20, 2013 3:21 PM

    When Vince Young is a Pro-Bowler it kinda ruins putting Pro-Bowler on your resume.

  9. knigtcrwler says: May 20, 2013 3:21 PM

    Pro bowl is not worth watching…but if they brought back the challenges I think more people would watch. Not only that it would give the fans and the players something to brag about when we find out who is the fastest or strongest man in the league.

  10. juddgr says: May 20, 2013 3:23 PM

    Why not do away with the pro bowl and have a playoff game between the conference losers. At least it would be real and watchable.

  11. ispokethetruth says: May 20, 2013 3:24 PM

    Honestly think seeing players play flag football would be more entertaining.

  12. jackdaniels1 says: May 20, 2013 3:26 PM

    Agreed w/ the challenges being brought back, I’d especially like to see beach flag football…that was great stuff

  13. PriorKnowledge says: May 20, 2013 3:27 PM

    How about the college national champion play the pro all-stars?

  14. mtchainsmoker says: May 20, 2013 3:28 PM

    What? No Mark Sanchez comments yet? I’m appalled.

  15. hodag54501 says: May 20, 2013 3:30 PM

    How about no game at all? Let the Pro Bowlers and their families come to Hawaii for a week, and give them the money they would earn from the game. The NFL could have some of those stupid contests like the NBA has if they wish.

    The game is a farce.

  16. basballguy says: May 20, 2013 3:31 PM

    In the history of the pro bowl and tv ratings. The pro bowl has only beaten the World Series once…..and that was last year….and by only .1 (7.7 share to 7.6 share).

  17. onebucplace says: May 20, 2013 3:31 PM

    What about a college all-stars vs nfl all-stars game. The college players you know would play hard while the NFL players wouldn’t want to be embarrassed.

    Maybe the college kids can get help from arena football stars (if you can even call them that) and wherever else they can pick-up players. Even if it was a 50% speed game I know I’d watch.

  18. jojopuppyfish says: May 20, 2013 3:32 PM

    I’d rather watch Dancing with NFL players (where two guys partner with each other)
    than watch the pro bowl

  19. musicman495 says: May 20, 2013 3:32 PM

    juddgr says: May 20, 2013 3:23 PM

    Why not do away with the pro bowl and have a playoff game between the conference losers. At least it would be real and watchable.
    ——————————
    Those who know their NFL league history remember when that was done in the early 60s with proceeds to benefit the players pension fund, and it was a complete flop. No fans, no TV, nothing. That is why it was dropped. The Pro Bowl also used to move around to various cities and players would not show up when it was not in Hawaii, which is why they moved it to Hawaii and left it there.

  20. kd75 says: May 20, 2013 3:33 PM

    I think I am the only person who actually likes the Pro Bowl. Its like methadone for a heroin addict.

    I know I have to go cold turkey for 6 months…Just let me get a little fix before the NCAA Tournament starts.

  21. musicman495 says: May 20, 2013 3:38 PM

    onebucplace says: May 20, 2013 3:31 PM

    What about a college all-stars vs nfl all-stars game. The college players you know would play hard while the NFL players wouldn’t want to be embarrassed.
    ———————-
    There also used to be an annual college all star vs the defending NFL league champion game in Chicago each summer before the start of the next season. They raised money for charity, and those games were played into the 1970, but eventually the risk of injury for players on both sides became too great and they stopped doing it.

  22. *Legion* says: May 20, 2013 3:41 PM

    Keep the Pro Bowl rosters. Send the players to Hawaii to do skills competitions and stuff, but get rid of the game.

    Move the Senior Bowl to Hawaii the same week. Let the kids mingle with the Pro Bowlers during practice week. Televise the Senior Bowl in place of the Pro Bowl, complete with cutaways to the stands to interview the NFL stars of today talking about the NFL stars of tomorrow.

  23. azcard says: May 20, 2013 3:41 PM

    i say cancel the pro bowl and replace it with a consolation game between the two losers of the conference championship games for “third place”.

  24. anthonyverna says: May 20, 2013 3:42 PM

    Somehow, choosing sides from a team captain hasn’t worked wonders for the NHL All-Star Game.

  25. ehetz21 says: May 20, 2013 3:44 PM

    Dump the Pro Bowl and set up a 40 yard dash for every player that claims they are the fastest. Linebackers could participate in a hardest tackle competition utilizing sports science. QB competitions, high jump. They could even do a paint drying competition, still mroe entertaining than the pro bowl.

  26. eaglesw00t says: May 20, 2013 3:44 PM

    Only a dramatic increase in the money paid to the winning team would result in players playing harder

    —————————-

    And thats the friggin sad part. The winners get paid $50k, and get a trip to Hawaii for playing 1 game of football.

    Do you know how many regular joes would go full tilt for a trip to hawaii and $50k?

    These guys make too much money.

  27. cospgsmadman says: May 20, 2013 3:46 PM

    Well said musicman495

  28. pftfan says: May 20, 2013 3:49 PM

    I know I’m the 1,000th commenter to bring this up, but why not a skills competition instead?

    People will actually want to see Tom Brady vs Drew Brees in an accuracy contest. Mike Wallace vs Chris Johnson in a 40 yard sprint-off. Colin Kaepernick vs Aaron Rodgers in who can complete multi-skill QB obstacle course.

    And I think the aforementioned players would rather compete and show off their skills and win bragging rights in a legit competition, then strap on pads on try to fake playing contact football.

  29. fwippel says: May 20, 2013 3:51 PM

    The Pro Bowl is a joke, and it needs to be jettisoned.

    The final straw was moving the game to the week before the Super Bowl, which not only ensured that players from the Super Bowl teams won’t play in the game, but also that players from the playoff teams defeated in the previous weeks who may be marginally banged up will also skip the game.

    Roger Goodell supposedly wants to save the game, but in reality, his decision to move the game up two weeks has only made it worse.

  30. 4thqtrsaint says: May 20, 2013 3:56 PM

    Holy crap, I see a Saint helmet in that pic! Must be an alternate. We set records, we don’t win awards.

  31. moeman79 says: May 20, 2013 4:07 PM

    Make it a award show, You can handout everything from MVP to all pro team, trophies and all. Keep it all under wraps until the show.

  32. deliveredbysherpa says: May 20, 2013 4:08 PM

    How about no game, but send them to Hawaii to do a reality show on what goes on and who gets arrested?

  33. saints4life57 says: May 20, 2013 4:15 PM

    As I was reading @bryanwenzel’s comment about the teams playing a MMO style Madden game I thought wow that’s the most retarded idea ever! Then I thought about it a little more and to be honest I think that would be an awesome idea to be honest! NFL has to cater to a whole new fan base that has grown up on video games and the Madden game is so popular that most of the viewers would be able to relate to it! Just think you risk no injuries and it might be more exciting to watch than the actual game it’s self! EA Sports could design a game just for the Pro Bowl that only people in the game would have access to! All in all I really think it would be a great idea! Besides it’s a game just for fun anyhow!

  34. Norseman says: May 20, 2013 4:18 PM

    To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever watched more than 5-10 minutes of a Pro Bowl ever in the last 40 years.

    Here’s my idea:

    By the time the Pro-bowl comes around, just about everyone is looking to the draft, free-agency, and next year anyway. Why not have a showcase of who’s available?

    Schedule the game a couple weeks after the Super Bowl, and call it the ‘Prospect Bowl’ – a game between the top college prospects and NFL free-agents.

    You can be sure all the players will have ample motivation to play hard.

  35. siege911 says: May 20, 2013 4:19 PM

    What about completely changing the Pro Bowl around all together? How about this:

    Make it a 5 or 7 day event with one of the following on each day.

    NFC vs AFC Basketball game
    NFC vs AFC Baseball game
    NFC vs AFC Hockey game
    NFC vs AFC Ultimate (Frisbee) game
    NFC vs AFC Soccer game
    NFC vs AFC Paintball game
    NFC vs AFC Water polo game
    etc… (many other similar options available)

    Winning 3 out of 5 (or 4 out of 7) events wins the “Pro Bowl”

    This would be fun (and somewhat funny depending on the event) to watch. Almost reality TV style but the players still can have fun, relax and most of those games have a relatively low injury risk compared to full on football.

    I’d enjoy that as much or more than the joke of a Pro Bowl game.

  36. papazoid says: May 20, 2013 4:19 PM

    the risk of injury is to great…..just turn it into an Academy Awards type show. then you get all the actual pro bowlers and eliminate alternates. let people see their faces.

  37. aneaglesfan says: May 20, 2013 4:23 PM

    It is just a thought but how about making the NFL probowl the HOF game instead of what it is now and idk scrap the pro bowl in hawaii. NFL has a horrible image seeing no one in the stadium when these players on the field are supposed to be the elite among pro talent players

  38. blackbug99 says: May 20, 2013 4:24 PM

    Make it a fan day. Let them do a sorta punt pass and kick day with the fans. Let Mr. “I am the fastest,” take on his rivals, and etc. for all the other challenges. JMO!

  39. mz1394 says: May 20, 2013 4:26 PM

    Just have the bottom two teams play with the winner receiving the no.1 overall pick to make sure no team can tank games at the end of the season

  40. brassknuckles47 says: May 20, 2013 4:26 PM

    Just make this a paper award only, and find or create other events where the NFL can replace that lost money. Something like a televised Tim Tebow vs. Mark Sanchez UFC match. The winner plays in Canada and the loser gets to remain with the Jets.

  41. audioflint says: May 20, 2013 4:27 PM

    The Pro Bowl to the average fan would be like an all-star day at work. Would you want to show up for an extra day of work because your boss thinks you’re an all-star employee? Probably not.

  42. theytukrjobs says: May 20, 2013 4:27 PM

    The only thing more boring than the pro bowl is talking about how boring the pro bowl is.

    Play the game and understand that players will barely try in the game. It isn’t that big of a deal. The thing gets decent ratings. Outside of baseball, all “all star” games are a half assed affair.

    Why is that such a bad thing?

  43. bandoy767 says: May 20, 2013 4:29 PM

    They should just make it a skills competition that weekend. Honestly that was more entertaining to watch than the actual game.

  44. phinfan says: May 20, 2013 4:30 PM

    I wonder what Robert Edwards thinks of all this.

  45. bobzilla1001 says: May 20, 2013 4:37 PM

    Pull the plug!!!

  46. audioflint says: May 20, 2013 4:38 PM

    What better competition is there than an old school vs new school all-star game? Create two teams, one with guys who have 5 or less years experience versus guys who have 6 or more years of experience. I don’t know about most people, but when I was younger I didn’t want to get beat by an older person. Likewise, the elders don’t want to lose to youngin’s.

  47. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: May 20, 2013 4:49 PM

    The players don’t find it worth risking injury, I get it. And the ratings are decent so money is to be made, get that too. But there is something a little larger going on which threatens the integritiy of NFL football.

    If players can dog it in a pro bowl game then I guess they can dog it in regular games too.

    Move away from the game if the players aren’t into it.

  48. catfanatic1979v1 says: May 20, 2013 5:00 PM

    End the game and replace it with an awards ceremony.

  49. blakeinfla says: May 20, 2013 5:04 PM

    College champ plays the last placed NFL team. Money for the kids and extra 2mil for salary cap for crap team if they win. This would be awesome.

  50. afcdomination says: May 20, 2013 5:18 PM

    I really think there should be just one “Pro Bowl” team just to keep the name intact for “X” amount of pro bowls. but there should be no game

    why not bring back to skills competition? have each of the players represent a different charity, and win money accordingly

    I just don’t see why a game is played when the only guy to go hard in that game was London fletcher. its just a joke. why make the best players at their respective positions look like clowns? plus you have people missing due to injury/super bowl, so just have an AFC/NFC Pro Bowl roster and be done with it

  51. chillyball says: May 20, 2013 5:23 PM

    It should be guys out of the league (cut, retired, whatever) who WANT back in the game — or a quicky million dollar paycheck. Jeff George throwing to likes of Ochocinco and T.O.; it would be competative! Dante Cullpepper fumbling around getting hit by fat linebackers. It would be a who’s who of hasbeens! Brett Favre and Tiki Barber working it for a million bucks.

    This is a good idea, people.

  52. kwjsb says: May 20, 2013 5:29 PM

    The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game was NFL Champs vs College All-Stars, Lets just change it to All-Stars vs All-Pros. Pride will kick in, no Pro wants to get beat by a college kid and every college kid will want to show what he can do vs the pros.

  53. bengalsmofo says: May 20, 2013 5:35 PM

    I know I, too, am a minority (no pun intended), but I like the Pro Bowl. I don’t look for it to provide quality football. Instead, seeing things like Rodgers to Fitzgerald for the TD, or seeing Brady to AJ Green. It’s fun and entertainment and never meant to rival the regular games.

    That said, if it became a skills competition, I’d be the first to turn it off. If the slam dunk competition has become boring, watching QBs knock cans off of goalposts would be horrible.

  54. phreakin says: May 20, 2013 5:44 PM

    The NFL will NEVER bring back skills competitions like they used to have for one reason and two words. Kevin Faulk.

  55. trapshoot says: May 20, 2013 5:47 PM

    It’s a joke. Drop it!!!

  56. hehateme2 says: May 20, 2013 5:51 PM

    mtchainsmoker says: May 20, 2013 3:28 PM
    What? No Mark Sanchez comments yet? I’m appalled.

    Markie Sanchez will never make it to a Pro Bowl.

    There you go.

  57. musicman495 says: May 20, 2013 5:59 PM

    fwippel says: May 20, 2013 3:51 PM

    The final straw was moving the game to the week before the Super Bowl, which not only ensured that players from the Super Bowl teams won’t play in the game, but also that players from the playoff teams defeated in the previous weeks who may be marginally banged up will also skip the game.
    ————————–
    Well said. As a fan, I have one other reason that moving the game to the week before the Super Bowl was a stupid idea – it also eliminated one of the highlights of the Pro Bowl for me which was the first opportunity we had to honor the brand new Hall of Fame inductees. I used to look forward to seeing the first interview in Hawaii with the HOF guys chosen Super Bowl weekend whom I might not have seen or heard from in many years.

  58. mazblast says: May 20, 2013 6:03 PM

    juddgr says: May 20, 2013 3:23 PM

    Why not do away with the pro bowl and have a playoff game between the conference losers. At least it would be real and watchable.
    ——————————-
    The old NFL tried that back in the 1960s. It was called the Playoff Bowl, matching the second-place teams from the East and West. It was played in Miami–and was a dismal failure. Just like the old “consolation” game in the Final Four, it was a dud because it was clear that no one involved gave a you-know-what.

    When the two old leagues merged in 1970, the Playoff Bowl died with it. No one mourned it.

    Please, Roger, Oh Great All-Knowing One, Distributor of Fair and Equal Justice, we beseech thee–dispense with this glorified game of touch football.

  59. granadafan says: May 20, 2013 6:30 PM

    “saints4life57 says: May 20, 2013 4:15 PM
    As I was reading @bryanwenzel’s comment about the teams playing a MMO style Madden game I thought wow that’s the most retarded idea ever! Then I thought about it a little more and to be honest I think that would be an awesome idea to be honest! NFL has to cater to a whole new fan base that has grown up on video games and the Madden game is so popular that most of the viewers would be able to relate to it!”
    =============================================

    No, it’s still a terrible idea. Who wants to watch another dude play video games? Really? Yes, let’s contribute to the younger generation’s laziness and obesity by encouraging them to play video games instead of, you know, exercising.

  60. mogogo1 says: May 20, 2013 6:42 PM

    I’m in the boat with the people wondering how this makes anybody money. There’s no excitement around it and nobody brags about watching the Pro Bowl. If they admit to doing so, it’s almost with sense of disdain or shame. Hard to believe advertising really pulls well during it. I’d bet the majority of ads are probably some sort of package the NFL sells where the advertiser is forced into having a Pro Bowl ad.

  61. mackcarrington says: May 20, 2013 6:46 PM

    I would like to see the game dropped. But If you really insist on having some kind of All-Star game, then substitute it for the Hall Of Fame Game. I see only one other person on this post who agrees with that idea. Teams would already be in training camp and the players would be healed from the previous seasons injuries. That would get all of the first ballot all-stars in the game, and the players from the Super Bowl could also participate. Call it the HOF Pro-Bowl.

  62. robertgriffintheturd says: May 20, 2013 6:53 PM

    If you don’t like the Pro Bowl, don’t watch it. Strange how a game a lot of you don’t watch, angers you all so much. Let me enjoy the game while you watch Dancing with the stars. I’d take the Pro Bowl over game 7 of any other sport’s championship.

  63. petedutcher says: May 20, 2013 6:59 PM

    I don’t think there should be any voting at all. It should simply be the top players at each position…not a popularity contest.

    Unless they rename it the Popularity Bowl.

    I wouldn’t mind a Rookie Bowl at some point though.

  64. gophins says: May 20, 2013 7:00 PM

    jackdaniels1 says:
    May 20, 2013 3:26 PM

    Agreed w/ the challenges being brought back, I’d especially like to see beach flag football…that was great stuff

    ———

    Robert Edwards disagrees.

  65. joshtanney says: May 20, 2013 7:44 PM

    I wouldn’t mind having Superbowl Champs Vs NFL All Stars, not sure if id watch it but there is a better chance I would.

  66. briang123 says: May 20, 2013 8:02 PM

    The Pro Bowl is like the Republican Party. A useless and worthless joke that we seem to be stuck with because of the few morons that keep it alive.

  67. billinlouisiana says: May 20, 2013 8:43 PM

    Eliminate the fan voting (has become nothing but a popularity contest), eliminate player voting (They vote for buddies due to the contract bonus’s, also heard they often will not vote for players on rival teams (heard Lincoln Kennedy admit to this once)).
    Leave the voting strictly up to the Head Coaches and coordinators of each team and they can only vote for players on teams they played against. OC’s can only vote for defensive players, DC’s for offensive players, Special Tems Coord. can only vor for the 6 positions reserved for special teams ( returner’s, Kicker, Punter, long snapper), HC’s can vote for all positions. This will come the closest to giving DESERVING players the “Pro Bowler” tag. I would also make it a rule that unless a league DR. verified an injury to a player then he must show up and play in the game in order to earn the pay and contract bonus.

  68. joe93955 says: May 20, 2013 10:02 PM

    Pro bowl is a waste of time even worst now they play it before the super bowl.

  69. cranespy says: May 20, 2013 10:43 PM

    Cmon Roger….. Give the game to the fans. Play it the week before the Super Bowl in a warm mainland location…Houston, San Diego, Atlanta, Glendale, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Charlotte….Have cities bid on it and require every team to give away a set number of tickets to the game…Right now the overpaid players get the free vacation and the $$$$…….let’s focus on the fans

  70. ytownjoe says: May 21, 2013 8:03 AM

    Next year try playing flag football without helmets or pads. A preview of what tomorrow’s NFL will look like after all the lawsuits are settled.

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