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.