Pro Bowl changes seem to acknowledge reality


The NFL has announced sweeping changes to the Pro Bowl, a game that has been undermined in recent years by a lack of player effort.

It’s a lack of player effort we understand and support.  After getting through the regular season (and, for many of the Pro Bowl players, part of a postseason) healthy enough to suit up and play, why risk injury in a meaningless game played in late January?

The question becomes even tougher to resolve in favor of playing for those players who are due to become free agents in a matter of weeks.

So how will the new changes make players who understandably aren’t inclined to play hard go out and play hard?

The answer is they won’t.  But the changes to the process may provide sufficient novelty to make a half-speed game with half-assed effort (again, understandable) more intriguing.

If it works, the credit for saving a game the NFL apparently wanted to dump goes to NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth, who came up with proposal on which the new format is based.

“As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment,” Foxworth said in a league-issued release.  “To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.”

The league liked what Foxworth suggested.

“We were very receptive to the ideas that Domonique and the players put forth,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said.  “From there, our office worked closely with him in developing the concept.  The players made it clear that they wanted to continue the Pro Bowl and were committed to making it better than ever.  We think these changes will enhance the game for both fans and players.”

It won’t make players play harder.  But the game will be different.  Whether that means it will be different enough to allow the game to continue over the long haul depends on how the new approach is received.

27 responses to “Pro Bowl changes seem to acknowledge reality

  1. Just stop. No game. This isn’t baseball. People routinely get seriously injured playing football, and in a league where salaries are not fully guaranteed, sending players out there for a game no one watches or cares about is absurd.

    Drop the pro bowl. We already have the all-pro team, which is more prestigious anyway.

  2. Connecting with the fans in a different enviroment means going to a football field in Hawaii that no one is willing to travel to for a meaningless game? Taking away the fan voting for the pro bowl?

    Let’s just be honest. For whatever reason the Pro Bowl gets better ratings than most shows that stay on FOREVER. They don’t want to get rid of it…they want you to think they do.

  3. Pro Bowl game is overrated…just another attempt by the league to extend the season and make more money from commercials…enough said…………..

  4. Jared Allen vs. Matt Kalil? Revis vs. Vincent Jackson? At least there will be little bit more intrigue. And could one team ‘draft’ both long snappers, foiling the opposition’s kicking game?

  5. The way to make the Pro Bowl meaningful is to come up with a viable player selection process and the winning team is recognized as the All Pro team for that year. The losing team isn’t in the record books at all.

    Problem solved.

  6. I love both the NFL and college football, and will watch even the most obscure, dog match up games any chance I get. Have not watched a Pro Bowl game in 20 + years. Doesn’t interest me in the slightest, and these new wrinkles won’t do anything to change that. They seem pretty silly to me, but they may entice the younger crowd, so I see no harm in it. I can still not watch easily enough.

  7. Wow! I’m also hearing for pregame festivities, a highlight reel of the year’s best plays will be projected on to Peyton’s giant forehead so the whole stadium can see them!

  8. Theres only one way to make these players compete and play full out.

    Losing team is banned from using twitter.
    problem solved

  9. Mevery week 1 game a AFC vs NFC game and the pro bowl winner gets Home game for ALL of them. It wouldn’t really change a lot, but it would make that game mean a LOT to the players.

    With the added bonus of avoiding divison games in week 1..

    and DONE

  10. how about having offensive players at defensive positions and vice versa?

    Or have the draft, then one team gets to pick the other teams positions for the players on the roster?

  11. Pro bowl game in the morning, Skills competition in the afternoon and a stuffed pig for the evening….drunk hawaiian girls everywhere!!

  12. For all the non-sense comments, I would say this is a great idea.

    Fantasy football is a real phenomenon that isn’t going everywhere. Players and fans, alike, relate to it.

    Changing the format towards a “draft” format make sense.

    In addition, getting rid of the conference distinction will allow the best players, regardless of conference, to be selected.

    It won’t “fix” the game, but it’ll be better. Good job.

  13. I think they should have the pro bowl a day or two before the Super Bowl in the city that’s hosting the Super Bowl….and it should be a perk of purchasing a Super Bowl ticket.

  14. thefnlimit says:
    Jul 31, 2013 3:57 PM
    Play it on week 10.
    I’ve said something similar before. If I were Emperor, we’d have an 18-game schedule, with the Pro Bowl in week 10, and everyone off week 11 (scheduled such that week 11 is the week before Thanksgiving, and we can occupy ourselves with all the big college rivalry games), then the 3 Thanksgiving games start the 12th games. With 18 games, the rosters would be 60 with no required inactives and 3 tiers of IR (2 weeks, 6 weeks and season-ending) to keep players healthy. This gives us an All-Stare game in midseason like the other sports. The expanded rosters & IR, plus 1 or 2 weeks off in midseason addresses the players’ injury concerns, fantasy football loses the irritating bye week factor in drafts, and we have more football.

    If anyone would like me to solve the rest of the world’s problems, just call me.

  15. “If it works, the credit for saving a game the NFL apparently wanted to dump goes to NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth, who came up with proposal on which the new format is based.”

    So Foxworth watched the NHL All Star game then? Foxworth didn’t come up with crap, the NHL thought of this and the NFL is copying it because it did increase the intreague a little bit and gives the league something else to broadcast and get revenue from(the draft).

    Why can’t they just say it appears to be working in the NHL, so we thought we would try it?

  16. Great idea: lets bring back that all-pro rookie flag football game on the beach. Sure it ruined Robert Edward’s career but it’s for the fans right?

  17. I really don’t want any of my guys playing…….ever. Its not worth the injury risk for an absolutely meaningless game. I would rather they just announce who the all stars are, and let them wear a sticker or a patch on their uniform follwing season acknowledging that.

    Plus on the business side, the NFLPA seems to want this game but opposes additional regular season games ?

  18. This is the NFL. They know what the problem is but will use bandaids instead of actually fixing the problem. For example, they KNOW that fans can’t really afford to go to games, but the NFL uses gimmicks to get fans in the stadium instead of lowering prices for parking/ tickets, concessions. When the game in the taxpayer- funded stadium isn’t sold out, they throw a tantrum and prevent all fans from watching the game on the network that gave them billions to… broadcast the game.

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