As the NFL continues to try to make the Pro Bowl worth watching, the league is considering some ideas inspired by TV game shows.
Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that the league is considering elements that would make the game more like a game show, such as
having incentives paid out during the game. Breer said the league would like to “make it so every single minute of the game has some sort of thing that’s going to keep fans interested and engaged.”
Breer added that the NFL doesn’t “feel the need to keep the integrity of what a normal football game is.”
Personally, I think a good football game is more fun to watch than any game show, and I don’t think adding game show gimmicks to a football game makes the game more fun to watch. The problem I see with the Pro Bowl is that the players don’t take it seriously, and adding “game show” elements seems likely to compound that problem. I don’t have a problem with the NFL’s idea of naming two team captains and letting them pick the teams, but I don’t think we need to have Monty Hall telling Peyton Manning to pick a receiver behind one of two doors, only to find out that Calvin Johnson is behind Door No. 1 and Titus Young is behind Door No. 2.
If the NFL really wants to make the players play hard, the best “game show” element to incorporate would be large cash prizes for the winners. Currently, players on the winning Pro Bowl team make $50,000 and players on the losing team make $25,000. The difference between getting paid $25,000 and $50,000 is a lot to most of us, but it’s peanuts to most Pro Bowlers. Until that changes, don’t expect the players’ effort to change.