Canceling Pro Bowl has been discussed


The negative reaction to the most recent Pro Bowl has the leaders of the NFL wondering about the future of the game.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Mike and Mike in the Morning (via Adam Schefter) that Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith have broached the possibility of canceling the Pro Bowl altogether.

Informal discussions about ending the game is a long way from actually canceling the game, but it shows that the league knows the product isn’t very good.

Then again, the ratings for the game are very good. That’s why it’s hard to believe the Pro Bowl will be no more.

81 responses to “Canceling Pro Bowl has been discussed

  1. Goodell messed it up by moving the time and the venue 2 years ago. Not only that, he doesn’t want hitting during the regular season, how can he expect it during this exhibition game?

  2. The players should be recognized for being the best of the best. I’m not sure the game needs to be played though. These guys should just be judged by their peers and have a nice TV show naming the teams and giving them their props.

  3. The new format is terrible. Putting the game before the Super Bowl means (especially this year) a ton of great players won’t play in Hawaii. If anything, they should just move it after the Super Bowl as it always was.

  4. If they do, they still still hold on to the honor aspect of it. The voting can be a joke in the sense that year-to-year guys can get snubbed or can make their career’s lone fluke appearance, but for the most part when you look at the players who have the most throughout their careers, they aren’t flukes — they’re the greats. They’re one of the better barometers on HOF eligibility. All-Pro honors would still be useful but choosing between a guy with 3 All-Pro selections and one with 1 All-Pro selection might not tell the whole story.

  5. I’ve felt for years that the Pro Bowl should be an “ESPY-esque” type awards show the week after the Super Bowl (so guys playing in the most important game of the year could still actually receive something they earned). Build more stuff in to it so people will watch. Have the guys nominated for the Pro Bowl actually there to receive an award……..announce the NFL Man of the Year Award……….announce the Hall-of-Fame of guys, etc….. The game is pathetic, but the NFL has done a great job of turning things like the Draft and Scouting Combine in to must-see tv. Why not do it for the Pro Bowl when every top player in the NFL will be in the same place at the same time? Figure out a way to exploit some really hot girls for no apparent reason throughout the course of the show and mix in a monkey throwing a football at someone’s nuts and you’ve pretty much created the perfect event for the NFL’s core demo.

    Just my opinion, I could be wrong……

  6. They don’t need to cancel the thing, they just need to find a way to make it more competitive.

    Find a way to spruce up the even with skills challenges. Whatever happened to the QB challenge? How about a running back / receiver obstacle challenge? Field goal competition?

    I think the game needs to be moved back to the week after the Super Bowl, so that it’s coverage doesn’t get lost in that media train. Then hype up a “Pro Bowl Challenge” or “Pro Bowl Weekend” or something along those lines.

    Why do people love the NBA All-Star game? It’s usually not for the game itself, but rather for the 3-point contest and Dunk contest the night before. Same with the MLB games – it’s all about home run derby. The NFL needs to pick such a challenge, and the most obvious seems to be the quarterback challenge, and market the heck out of it. This is the NFL for crying out loud, the biggest sports hype train in the world, I’m pretty sure they should be able to figure out a way to get some value out of the All-Star / Pro Bowl festivities.

    Semi-rant over.

  7. Have the voting, give the guys that get the most votes a check and a pat on the back, and be done with it. No one cares about the actual game, including the guys who play in it. Makes perfect sense, which is probably why the NFL won’t do it.

  8. @snoilog

    It’d probably be more interesting if they scrapped the game all together and did those iron man like competitions. Like the throwing distances competition that they put the QB threw, the catch and run gauntlet that the wr’s go threw in college, etc. I’d much rather watch that.

  9. Best suggestion I’ve seen on this is to get rid of the Pro Bowl like it is and have a Senior Bowl or futures game with the top college talent that’s declared for the draft. Have the NFL Pro Bowlers or All-Pro team recognized at halftime to tie it all together. Now that would be something people would watch with some interest. At least more than the horrible exhibition game they’ve been playing in Hawaii…

  10. Tough call.
    Its a true reward for the players to go to Hawaii (look at the backlash when they held it in Miami the one year) as they take families and teammates.
    Its too bad (*cough* Cam Newton *cough*) can’t be bothered to put the effort in for 30 mins out the 6-8 days they are there.

    Also, Hawaii gets some tourist $ bump for that week/weekend.

    That said, these guys can all afford to take their families and whoever they want to Hawaii with zero financial burden.

  11. But how will the NFL survive without the profits from this game. I know they wouldn’t want to raise ticket prices for regular season games to make up for the lost revenue. If there’s one thing the NFL would never do I it’s gouge fans. Boy I’d sure hate To pay more than $10.00 for a beer next season.

  12. I think the Pro Bowl should go back after the Super Bowl and to make sure the play is top shelf, the winner would get to go first in the third round of the draft. People will start saying injuries but that would be a game, and get rid of the stupid lack of line play.

  13. there is no way the league drops this game when it still gets more ratings than all the other pro sports all star games do. and let’s be fair,it is the only pro game hawaii gets every year.maybe if they find a way to have a few regular season games a season in hawaii,they’d find a way to cancel the pro bowl or something?

  14. I believe the Pro Bowl should be canceled and instead of playing games in the London, the NFL should play one game a year in Hawaii. It would save costs and give Hawaii a real game to watch opposed to the two hand touch they are getting every year

  15. I agree, cancel the pro bowl. My bigger concern is that the regular season is becoming too much like the pro bowl and arena style football. QB’s wear skirts now, defensive backs can’t breathe on a wr until after he catches the ball and runs 5 yds so he’s “no longer defenseless”.

  16. Roger Goodell & all his great ideas… He’s ridiculous. I understand he is like the CEO of the NFL, but he should be a caretaker of the game not a game changer… We don’t need football in Europe either. Change the Pro Bowl back to after the SB, let the families, friends, and the players have a week vacation to celebrate their accomplishments & promote the league in Hawaii…. It’s the calm after the storm, a nice leisure week to celebrate the season.

  17. The only way it gets cancelled is if we quit watching it. I stopped twenty years ago, why haven’t you??

  18. The absolute worst of all major sports “All Star” showcases.

    100 point game last week!!!

    It’s a farce but it puts the SB players at a disadvantage in terms of not getting that Hawaiian vacation and related perks.

    All in all, even if you have to trade a suntan for a wind burn, I’d rather be in Indy.

    Put a fork in the Pro Bowl.

  19. Here is a thought…. Why not still have the pro bowl voting and then use in coming college players represent that players name and number one the field. And the money that the players get now for playing would be split between them.
    I think the game would then be played at full speed and with a purpose.
    The player could be on the sideline guiding and assisting his substitute.
    If the player was in the superbowl, the probowl alternet would then step in to be on the sideline.

  20. Give the players a trip to Hawaii after the SB, forget the game. Having the game before the SB probably helped the ratings, but not having the best players in the game is a joke.

  21. The NFL needs to figure out how to play a meaningless game without worrying about player getting injured. Some Pro Bowlers haven’t played in a month (those players on non-playoff teams) so they may not be in game shape, which increases chance of injury.

    There would be the same risk in a skills competition, remember the beach flag football game they had where rookies participated in? Robert Edwards had a great rookie season for the Pats and jacked his knee all up in a game that wasn’t even the pro-bowl.

    The NFL won’t kill it since it draws viewers, which they can point to when TV contract talks come up, “we get higher rating for poorly played exhibition games than MLB gets for some world series games, give us another billion”

  22. The game is unnessary but a skills and talent tournament would be something you have leading up to the Super Bowl.

    Field goals, passing, arm wrestling, bench press, 40 yard dash…so on so forth and all for cash prizes or forward to there charities.

  23. I still miss the skills competition. Where the 5 fastest guys in the NFL race. The bench press, and all the other cool competitions they had.

  24. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Works for me.

    If it’s that important to you that it be cancelled, volunteer to pony up the $$$ will miss out on by doing so.

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  25. If I was a player making all that money, why would I put my career on the line for a meaningless game?

    NHL Hockey is the same way…The Goalies get to showcase their talent, that’s about it.

    Baseball is different…minimal, if any at all, contact is made with another player during a game.

  26. The NFL should make the Pro Bowl like the old TV show “Battle of the Network stars NFL Edtiton”

    They used to use pro stars during the great years of this show, At least the up close TV interviews during the show would be great. Talking to Megatron just before he has to run a obstacle course

  27. Give the players awards for their high level of achievement. Present them awards in an awards ceremony. Make a big deal out of it and televise it on a Saturday night several weeks after the Superbowl. Wrap up all the MVP, Offensive/Defensive POY, ROY etc…. and all the “Pro Bowl” players into one big fat hoopla “NFL Awards Ceremony”. Showcase all the Prima-Donnas on television and they’ll be happy.

    Forget the game. You’ll never get the players to compete. It’s a disgrace and I won’t even watch it.

  28. That awards show was a crock. Thought I was watching E network. As far as the pro bowl goes the stakes are in the draft. It was mentioned earlier. Take a mid round draft and rearrange it to go to the winning conference. Their worst teams go first to the best at 16. Then the nfc’s teams pick 17-32. A Super Bowl winner could jump from 32nd pick in the fourth to 16! Tho doesn’t help the sorrier teams as much, but they have fewer representatives.

  29. The pro bowl should be:

    -Changed from a game to a skills competition, where every year, fans create and/or vote on skill competitions for that year. How many 60 yard field goals can a kicker kick? Ever wonder if Drew Brees could drop a pass into a stationary bucket 50 yards away?

    -Move the pro bowl skills competition 3 months forward; to a time where almost everyone can compete and NFL fans are starved for any NFL action. Somewhere between the draft and training camp would be perfect. Very few players could use injury as an excuse.

  30. I’m curious. How is it that we choose All-Stars in the other sports at the halfway point, but not for football? Can you imagine if the Pro Bowl were held in an off-week after week 8? It’d be ridiculous. In basketball, they’ve played what, 20 games? And we decide we’ve seen enough to vote for the All-Star teams? Lol. Insane!

    Why can’t they have double elimination once it’s down to 4 teams?

    That would give us a lot more GOOD football.

  31. I am sure that all of the middle class working people who make money locally on the game appreciate all spoiled geniuses on here who want to get rid of a harmless exhibition that helps their economy because it doesn’t measure up to your expectations of a “true” football game.

    Keep the game in Hawaii, put it back to after the Super Bowl so that SB players have the option to go, and leave it alone.

    If you don’t want to watch it, DON’T WATCH IT.

  32. To me the whole idea of a pro bowl is silly. People should be name pro bowlers and get a stipend for that honor by the league but forget the game.
    It is as bad as watching a scrimmage with the third stringers playing. I cannot blame the players, I wouldn’t want to get hurt in a meaningless game and possible toss my career. Its happened a few times already and its not worth it.

    The NBA allstar game is just men running down the court scoring and zero defense at all. Its just the NFL players finally figured that out. Get hurt get screwed.

  33. gmsalpha says:
    Feb 5, 2012 12:34 PM
    I’m curious. How is it that we choose All-Stars in the other sports at the halfway point, but not for football? Can you imagine if the Pro Bowl were held in an off-week after week 8? It’d be ridiculous. In basketball, they’ve played what, 20 games? And we decide we’ve seen enough to vote for the All-Star teams? Lol. Insane!

    I cannot emphasize this enough: the NFL is the only major sports league where their All-Star team is based on that specific season.

    When baseball’s All-Star Game was created, it was announced as an event where the fans got to vote to see two dream teams matched up against each other. That criteria has not changed.

    Bill James put it best: it’s an All-Star Game, not an All-Mediocrities-That-Had-A-Good-First-Half Game.

  34. Actually what the league should consider that the fans may enjoy is have a set of contests instead of a game, have games. The QB’s all compete for prize money by throwing at targets and get points for their team. Running backs run relays and get prize money and score points for their teams and basically have a lot of fun.

  35. Why cancel it? Why don’t you all (Commissioner and the owners) do something to modify the game that would make it worth viewing again? One thing comes to mind is to go back to the original schedule format that the Pro Bowl game was played, prior to the changing of it, two years ago. The rules need to be changed so that the game won’t be a two hand touch/flag football game and in this way, most of us might really believe that we’re actually watching a professional football game taking place. What a joke to even have the Pro Bowl game prior to the Super Bowl game. What pro bowl player who’s participating in the Super Bowl is going to play in the Pro Bowl game. Or what head coach of a Super Bowl game the current year is going to even consider to allow one of his players to participate in a meaningless game such as the Pro Bowl? I sure wish I knew what the commissioner’s objective was when he made such an illogical revision but I hope that he makes a logical decision to revamp it so that the game would mimic the yesteryears……..

  36. Rather than cancel it, i’d like to see it become a ‘futures’ game. Play young up-and-coming players and potential stars from around the league. Those type players are more likely to play hard for the game to make a name for themselves. I would definetly look forward to watching that type game. The younger and less established the players are, the better they’re likely to play. As it is I can’t remember the last Pro Bowl I watched and I am practically a football addict.

  37. Wow…didn’t realize that booing Cam Newton would get the NFL upset enough to want to cancel the whole thing.

    Perhaps if he had tucked his shirt in and at least looked like pro, he would have only gotten half the boos for his horrible performance.

    Or maybe it should have been this way…Stafford should have been there instead.

  38. Under the old ProBowl-comes-after-the-SuperBowl arrangement, I think the NFL believes that after the SuperBowl people basically tune out football except for a handful of football fanatics who would tune into the ProBowl for 1o minutes before turning off the tv and taking a nap.

    I just attended the ProBowl for the 1st time last week. The Hawaii fans love this game (not joking) – they flat out love football here which explains why they support the ProBowl and Univ of Hawaii football. They want more football, better football!!

    I think one of the other commenters got it right… scrap the ProBowl and give Hawaii a real football game. Frankly, wouldn’t this be easier if everyone agreed to a 17 game season with each team getting one game at a neutral site location? The Bills could play a game in Toronto without Buffalo fans having to missing out on a home game. The 49ers or any of the west coast teams could play a game in Hawaii every year. New England could play a game in London, England. The Packers could go back to playing a game in Milwaukee like they used to in the old days. The Raiders could play a game on the grounds of San Quentin prison. The Lions could play a game in Detroit’s sister-city Newark, NJ.

    I also agree with the other comments who called for the reinstatement of the qb challenge, kicker competition and other “skills competitions”. Heck, you could still do this in Hawaii to get better buy-in from the players.

    Or how about some other humorous propositions…. what about the NCAA’s best team plays the NFL’s worst team (Alabama v. Indianapolis)? Or one of the conference championship game losers against the best CFL team? Or how about (exempting the Super Bowl teams) taking the entire squad from the NFC’s best offense and defense and match that NFL “All Star” team versus the best AFC offense and defense?

  39. Never happen.. TV ratings are too good for it.

    The problem is (justifiably) that in Football (unlikely p-ass sports like baseball and basketball) the players are more likely to get hurt. Star RB out there and gets an ACL? That would really be the end of it.

  40. An exhibition game between two teams thrown together practicing for two days just doesn’t work in the NFL. You can’t just play a game with no gameplan, no real plays, etc. They would be better off just doing a skills competition after the season. They used to the QB skills but I never see that on tv anymore.

  41. Play the game the night before the super bowl in the host stadium. Change the game to each team getting 6 offensive possessions. Make it flag football. Take off the pads and helmets. Only touchdown counts. At ‘half time’ have a skills competition.

  42. OK, they need to think outside the box on this one. We all want a Pro Bowl, but no one wants to see the same limp wrist effort. We change the PB uniform to include a built in taser. Anyone playing patti cake gets 50,000 volts. Game fixed.

  43. Move Pro Bowl back to after Super Bowl. The weekend before the Super Bowl they should play a “Pride Bowl”, where the two teams with the worst records play. Winner gets #1 pick in the draft, loser drops to #4 or #5.

    It’d be a mega competitive game, plus one of these teams gets to go out with a win, a little momentum, and gets to earn their #1 by playing well, not by sucking for Luck for instance. The loser will be that much more motivated to improve for next year.

  44. They might as well just call it flag football and play it the same way. Shirts vs Skins in Hawaii. That might even get more women to watch.

    Personally, it’s so boring that I think they should scrap the game and instead have a Survivor like reality competition.

    Make the running backs navigate an obstacle course over water. Have the QB’s try to hit targets from 40 yards away. Have the fattest linemen wrestle each other. That sort of thing.

    At least that would be entertaining.

  45. I think they should have a “Future Stars” game where players with under 4 years of NFL service are eligible to play in a game. The winner gets more money then the losers. The real “studs” are usually older players and the game just doesn’t mean anything because they don’t want to get hurt.

  46. Can I break the news to everyone?


    The Pro Bowl didn’t just start sucking a few days ago. It’s ALWAYS been a joke. I accepted it for what it is a long time ago.

    The difference is that the players used to want to go since it was a free trip to Hawaii. Now they make enough money to finance their own trips.

  47. Elect players all-pro but scrap the game it makes defendive players look like a joke because they can not go all out and play like they should.

  48. The Pro Bowl is nothing but glorified offensive practice. Why anyone who calls themselves a football fan would buy a ticket or watch it on TV is beyond me, the local peewee game would be more exciting.

  49. I think we can all agree that a skills competition event would be a much better idea than a BS game that nobody tries in. They can couple that with an actual flag football game instead of the semi-full contact game they have now. I think a really competitive flag football game would be a much better product than a full contact game that nobody tries in.

    Plus that would eliminate the grey area where some players are tryin really hard while others are just messing around. It would be safer and all the players would be able go to 100% which would vastly improve the quality of the game

  50. Best news reported so far. Heck the fans knew it was a waste of time – glad Goodell came around to his senses.
    Same process name all the pro-stars, wait until after the Superbowl maybe a Valentine thing and fly all of them to Hawaii for a honors presentation as recognition for their effort during the season. end of that.

  51. If bad football is the criteria for getting rid of the game why stop with the Pro Bowl – There are a whole bunch of teams who pass the stinko test. Let’s get rid of them as well. We can eventually boil it down to two teams of supremely talented players who never make any mistakes and they can play every week to the purists delight.

  52. I have the answer we’ve all been waiting for:
    1. Keep the Pro Bowl week in Hawaii
    2. Invite the players and their families, as always.
    3. The NFL picks 2 divisional opponents and flies those teams and coaches to Hawaii. Those two opponents play a REAL game that counts towards the next season.
    The 2 teams that play then get an extra bye that next year.
    The NFL would make sure that the Pro-Bowlers who aren’t playing in the game are in TVcamera-friendly V.I.P. seating. Involve them in the coin toss… Make a few of them sideline reporters. Interview some of them in the booth. Add some humor (James Harrison up in the stands selling popcorn for 15 minutes or so… Aaron Rogers working the T-Shirt cannon…, etc.) Sure, some of the players would be playing a game that counts even though they might not be with the team during the next season. Is that a big deal? I don’t think it is. And I’ll bet the players would enjoy getting that extra bye week…

  53. Putting the Pro Bowl anywhere but Hawaii would be a huge mistake. They tried that in Miami. You get the fifth or sixth player to play. These guys don’t want to play in the mainland. Heck some don’t even want the vacation time they get in Hawaii. Being from Indy I noticed during the SB that the home team gets the bigger and supposed better locker room. The visitor on the other hand had the nicer hotel. Seems the NFL could learn something from baseball here. The winning conference not only could be the home team but they could also have hotel and practice facility choice. That with the combination of the payout might make it a more competitive game. I’ve been to the Pro Bowl every year for the last 4-5 Pro Bowls and not only is it a non competitive game but the players are not very accessible. This seems to be a time that not only would they want to show their skills but maybe take the time to thank the fans with a few autographs. Not while out dining with family members but after practice. If it weren’t for the fans these guys wouldn’t be making multi millions of dollars. Don’t take the game away just figure out how to make it a little more competitive. Making $50,000 for most of us would make it enough incentive to play to win.

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