Pro Bowl could still go bye bye

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The Pro Bowl remains on the endangered species list.

In what hardly will classify as the most dramatic revelation of the year, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday at a town hall meeting sponsored by SiriusXM radio that the Pro Bowl could be abandoned, eventually.

“It’s really tough to force competition and after a long season to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level that they play is pretty tough,” Goodell said.  “And I made it very clear last year because I really thought the quality of the game last year was way below standards and if we’re going to play like that we should just eliminate the game.”

He’s right.  No player who has made it through a long season of games that count healthy enough to play another game has interest in playing hard in a game that doesn’t count.

So get rid of it.  Be done with it.  Yes, it will result in a lost opportunity to hit the cash register, given that plenty of folks will watch bad football involving good players.  But if it doesn’t do justice to the shield, then it should be abandoned, permanently.

The problem is that the players still want to play the game — since it entails a free week in Hawaii and, in its current form, a game of two-hand touch in full pads.  And as long as people keep watching it, it will be hard to stop playing it.

“I was leaning that way,” Goodell said.  “The players asked if they could take another crack at it and they wanted to try to work to make the game more competitive.  Obviously, I support that but if we can’t accomplish that kind of a standard I’m inclined not to play it any longer.”

Thus, this year’s edition could go a long way toward determining the future of the game.  Which means that even more of us will tune in to see just how much better than really bad it will be.

Which will make it even harder to pull the plug, no matter how badly it needs to be pulled.

122 responses to “Pro Bowl could still go bye bye

  1. Instead of playing a game…make it a skills competition. Bring back the QB competition where they throw at the big bullseye targets that are moving across the field. That way the players still get their trip, the league can still get some tv money, and the competition will be better than an actual game.

  2. I call BS. They make too much money from the lemmings that watch the game & the gate revenue.

    They should just have a skills competition, like when they use to have the QB challenge in the early 90’s.

  3. What about turning it into a preseason game for the following season? Interest would be really high from fans excited for the return of the NFL, players might want to play a little harder since it is the beginning of the season rather than the end.

  4. Problem being. If they take away the cash cow this game is, .. Costs will go up in other places. Ready for another 10% hike on your tickets NFL fans??

  5. Just dump it already. Last year was such a farce that the players should have had all their bonus money donated to charity.

  6. So, fans like watching it, players like playing it (with the free trip to Hawaii), and the league makes money from it. Aside from bolstering the resumes of mediocre alternates, what is the downside?

  7. I think the problem is the players don’t want to hit/get hit in the game. So why not just adjust the rules to take that into account? As long as they didn’t sell it as a “real” football game, I’d have no problems watching a really toned down version with no real hitting to speak of — just need to make sure that’s what its billed as.

  8. someone mentioned it before but i would like to see skills competitions come back, i still enjoy watching the old qb challenges they show from time to time.

  9. Seems to me I remeber back in the “good old days” the winner’s share of $$$ was incentive enough for guys to give an enthusiastic exhibition of their skills.

    If, and this was pointed out by Florio, the TV audience for this game is a ratings winner, and it is, then I ask why not sweeten the pot to the point where guys will work like dogs to win the damn thing?

  10. Wouldn’t it be more fun if it was two hand touch. I mean no one wants to be hurt in a game that really means nothing. Make it a fun two hand touch game. Who is with me?

  11. I don’t know why they just don’t play golf or something and have a ceromony. I would much rather watch that and more players would actually show up.

  12. The pro bowl is dumb. I think a rookie vs sophmore game would be great though. Give the players of the winning team $175,000 each and I bet theyll play hard. Thatd only be $9,275,000, the NFL would make money off this. Just play it in LA at the colesium and we could see if LA could fill an NFL stadium at the same time.

  13. For most NFL players, there are only 2 motivations: championships and money. There is no “pride” in representing a conference.

    Since there’s no reasonable way to have the outcome of the Pro Bowl affect the Superbowl (players on Superbowl teams don’t even participate), the only other option is to award MASSIVE bonuses to the winning team.

    If the league is unwilling to do that, then the players will just continue to treat the ProBowl as a relaxing Hawaii vacation with their families.

  14. The players do not want to play the game. They just want the extra cash, free vacation and “convention” atmosphere surrounding the so-called game. The list of players that don’t play start with super bowl contestants and end with guys that avoid the game due to phantom injuries or unbreakable commitments like rearranging their sock drawer that day.

    The dirty little secret is how the players get incentive pay for being named to the pro-bowl, not actually playing in it. The more players that “decline” the more additional players receive that pay they otherwise wouldn’t have.

    I say, kill the game. Replace it with an awards banquet and award those players who actually deserved the honor for the year. No more popularity contest winners or legacy votes. Earn the honor every year.

  15. It’s all about the money or better still, keeping it in the owners pockets. After a long season, let them have some fun, the league can afford it. I don’t watch it, but come on, it’s not a lot to ask and it pumps lots of money into the local economy.

  16. It needs to..just make an ALL-PRO team trophy like the do in the NCAA..that games a joke

  17. Best option…..keep the Pro Bowl, just don’t play the game. Give the players the benefits and titles, but no game. Seems like the best option for everybody.

  18. It was done right when it was in Miami. It was an opportunity for the fans to celebrate the season those players just had during that first of two weeks off before the Super Bowl in the same city, those two weeks in Miami were so fun.

    There should be a skills competition on that Saturday night before the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl allows guys to have fun , there is no care in who wins it.

    The last game fans should see is the Super Bowl each season.

  19. Will anyone miss this thing? Replace it with the old QB challenge stuff from back in the day. No danger to the players, totally laid back attitude, and every team (and fan base) can be involved.

  20. Damn, I was really hoping I would get the free trip next year!! I would just love to play football on that Volcano that could erupt any minute. O well there is always Bowling in Honduras!!

  21. I don’t understand this “tarnishing the shield” argument. We know it’s a glorified exhibition by now. There must be an audience for it since 12.5 million people watched it last year.

    I fully understand if someone doesn’t like watching the Pro Bowl, but I don’t get the “it needs to be cancelled” argument. Who or what is the game itself hurting?

  22. I watch the pro bowl every year. Not because its a great game but because at the end of January its still a decent way to kill time and have a couple beers. Just tell fans, and we should all know it by now already, to lower their expectations of the game. Its not a playoff game, to expect it o be played like one is ridiculous.

  23. Just face it, It’s not going away as long as it continues to put up bigger TV numbers than MLB and NBA postseason games.

    People love to complain about it, but they still watch because it’s the NFL.

  24. So this is something that the players like, the fans like, the local economy probably likes, and Roger Goodell wants to kill it because he finds it unprofessional. Did anyone forsee what an ass this guy was going to be once he got the top job?

  25. Only bad things can result from the Pro Bowl.

    Have a skills competition or something fun like a darts, foosball, ping pong and pool team competition.

    Find out which team has the best barroom skills.

    Maybe a shot contest for the drama, or find out which NFL player can resist the temptation of walking into a strip club.

    Only injuries in a pointless game.

  26. Some of us enjoy watching bad football. It’s kind of fun! I still think it should determine which team gets to wear home uniforms in the Superbowl. Or it could replace the Super Bowl’s opening coin flip!

  27. Good. It’s pointless to watch, because guys aren’t going to sacrifice their body’s for an exhibition. I would rather see things like Chris Johnson vs. Mike Wallace vs. Randall Cobb vs. Antonio Cromartie in a foot race. I’d rather see Aaron Rodgers vs. Matthew Stafford vs. Cam Newton vs. Mike Vick in a long distance throwing contest. At least with these things we will be able to day who has the strongest arm and who is the fastest player.

  28. The Pro Bowl should go bye-bye. It’s a silly outdated tradition that nobody cares about unless one of your franchise star players gets injured during it.

  29. You are such a tool, Goofdell.
    you have voiced your desire to get rid of the probowl since you started.

    I enjoy watching the best of the best play a clean game
    more than any other game of the season.
    You have tried every trick your pea brain can think of to
    try to get rid of it because it doesn’t haul in quite the cash the other games do. The pro bowlers families deserve the trip to Hawaii
    after their dad being away all season, and us fans deserve
    being able to watch a just for fun game of pure finesse football

    While any real man would be reflecting on the horrible
    mistake you have made so far, you are too busy hugging
    yourself in front of a mirror, telling yourself, you are OK.

    When you look in the mirror, can you see the weasel snout
    your actions have created?

  30. Elite players don’t want to play hard – why risk suffering significant injury in a meaningless game?

    Also, because it’s scheduled before the Super Bowl, no players on Super Bowl teams go – which means often some of the best players don’t go at all.

    I say scrap the game but keep awarding “Pro-Bowl” honors to players. Players who get the award should be invited to a set of skill competitions like they used to have, like the precision target practice for the QBs.

  31. How about a game of 7 on 7 flag football. No pads, just a fun game of backyard flag football. Players still get their bonuses, which is the real reason they want to play it. Every other series is lineman vs lineman. Every player is miced up. 15 minute running clock. Im sure the league could make it a fun event while minimzing the injury risk.

  32. Scrap the game but keep the Pro Bowl week.

    Bring back the QB Challenge, have a kicker’s challenge, 4 on 4 games, trick catches, etc.

    The fans will pay, the players get their week AND will probably go all out for bragging rights.

    Kinda like what the NBA does with their games. It would work but Goodell sucks so he won’t do it.

  33. I love the probowl. All the games,races,and atmosphere just watching it. You can watch legends play a touch game and Peyton manning throwing the ball to Greg Jennings. The race for the fastest man. And about the probowl being touch game in pads,last year the defenses stopped that and started hitting each other! Ignoring the refs and the refs went with it. How can u say that last year wasn’t fun to watch?

  34. What a out some sort of “Punt, Pass &Kick/Strongman sort of competition? We get to see the fella’s having fun and joking around, a bunch of girls in bikinis and great Hawaiian scenery.

  35. Instead of doing the pro bowl and risking injury, they should do an event to see who’s the fastest player in the NFL, which Quarterback can throw the farthest, etc. It’s fun to watch and the players don’t have to worry about getting injured.

  36. I haven’t agreed with Roger Goodell much lately, but on this I am definitely on the same page. Surely there must be some compromise whereby the players still get the recognition and free holiday but don’t have to play the pathetic game of non-football.

  37. it would prolly be better for the game if players were given a really large cash bonus and also a large donation made to the players and coaches charity of their choice!! for making it to the pro bowl and actually playing in it and the winning team and coaches get a even bigger bonus. I bet if the nfl offered $1million bonus pay and also a large donation to fave charities to the players and coaches that make and play in the pro bowl and the winning team gets an extra $1million. that would be a great incentive for players to play hard all year and tp reward them with a big bonus and vacation in Hawaii and even bigger perk if they play hard enough to win the game and make it fun to watch!! also I think the coaching staff should be voted in also or be the staffs from the super bowl and not by the loser of the championship game. that would make the pro bowl be about winners and not giving credit to losers!! hell even throw in rings for making the pro bowl like with the super bowl!!

  38. it would prolly be better for the game if players were given a really large cash bonus and also a large donation made to the players and coaches charity of their choice for making it to the pro bowl and actually playing in it and the winning team and coaches get a even bigger bonus.

    I bet if the nfl offered $1million bonus pay and also a large donation to fave charities to the players and coaches that make and play in the pro bowl and the winning team gets an extra $1million.
    that would be a great incentive for players to play hard all year and to reward them and players that don’t make a killing already with a big bonus and vacation in Hawaii and even bigger perk if they play hard enough to win the game and make it fun to watch!!
    also I think the coaching staff should be voted in also or be the staffs from the super bowl and not by the loser of the championship game. that would make the pro bowl be about winners and not giving credit to losers!! hell even throw in rings for making the pro bowl like with the super bowl!!

  39. I mean yeah the Pro Bowl does suck, but the nfl made it that way what happen to the skill drills, obstacle courses, and fastest man competition. Plus us as fans like when players from our favorite team makes it.

  40. So, how about this. Only the real, original, pro bowl nominees get the “pro bowl” honor, instead of all the players who were alternates and didn’t get originally voted in… and do not actually hold the real life pro bowl, but step into a fun future where 10,000 simulations are run. The players of the simulation winning team in the get their winning pro bowl check, and the losers get their losing pro bowl check.

  41. I always wonder who watches the pro bowl. It takes 3.5 hours to watch a regular game. You’d think they’d wanna get some of their free time back by skipping this horrible game.

    Personally, I watch my games on NFL rewind and refuse to waste away in front of a tv for 3.5 hours at a time

  42. We, as football fans, should not encourage the possibility of injury to the best players in the game in a meaningless scrimmage. What if RG3 tore an ACL in the pro bowl. was it worth it, NFL?

  43. Let’s say goodbye to the Probowl. No need –in other news. Vikings are going to the super bowl this year!! Thumbs down if you agree 🙂

  44. The way those Pro-Bowl selected players get played, it’s a free trip to Hawaii even if they pay for it compared to what the rest of us schlubs make.
    Anyway, the Pro-bowl is a joke. I never watched and never will. Yeah, put it out of it’s misery, Roger Bad-Hell.

  45. People will even watch Draft try outs so why not make it like a meet competition: NFC vs AFC

    Speed races and obstacle courses for runners.
    Catching for recievers with different obstacles to overcome.

    QB accuracy drills with timer.

    Punt and FG competition

    Tacklers punding tackle dummies and record force for hit.

    Probably no injuries, it is still a competition with a score, just not football. Just a thought and I think it is better than nothing or better than fake football. You could even throw in a cheerleader competition.

  46. “It’s really tough to force competition and after a long season to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level that they play is pretty tough,” Goodell said.”<—-from the guy that wants 18 regular season games.

  47. I live about a mile from ALoha stadium. I have endured countless traffic jams every fall for 8 years during the Rainbows’ football season and during Probowl in the early spring.

    But if some of you may not know, it is also less than a mile from the Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor and Historic Ford Island, accross the street literally for the statium, is opened for parking.

    I am not a football fan by any shape and means…But I can tell you ALOT of service members are and alot of Hawai’ians are. They really look forward to see something they only see on TV-their favourite stars in a football game, even though it’s touch football. It is talked about for DAYS and smiles and t-shirts are worn for WEEKS afterword.

    Hawai’i tends to be for the super rich and fancy vacations to most of the mainlanders, including who used to think of that. But it isn’t very rich and life isn’t that much fun for many here, and they don’t have any professional teams for the sport enthusists to cheer for. A simple game is sometimes a dream for many out here. A game involving atheletes they only see on a TV or hear on the radio. It makes them feel more part of the United States than another country, which alot of American tourists seem to think (I have stood behind many in stores).

    SO taking it away seems to save the NFL some cash, but I think the NFL, who can pay their players millions of dollars, can afford to go to the 50th and way out of the way state of Hawai’i to bring joy to the troops stationed there(many of them been of the front lines in the Middle East) smiles of the native Hawai’ians who love the game and traffic, which I will tolerate for the sake of the game.

  48. The players jog through the Pro Bowl because they want to avoid injury in a meaningless game. Be careful what you wish for people. Your favorite player might be a casualty if the league finds a way to step up the aggression in this game.

  49. i have no problem with taking it out. but at least still allow ballots to find the all pro teams. i’m a stat fan and pro bowls are a pretty relevant career milestone.

  50. I would assume the real reason the players would want to keep it around is the ridiculous incentives they get for being in this game … As in ten million a year to shove some far guy around isn’t enough

  51. Make it like other awards shows. Bring the player on stage and show some of his highlights for the year. The NFL could have it before or after the Super Bowl. I bet the networks would pay big money to air that.

  52. I think it’s the right decision to abandon the Pro Bowl. Almost every starter on the Pro Bowl rosters are either playing the Super Bowl or injured. Once it was a funny game to watch, but it has changed alot!

  53. The way I see it, soon ALL games will look like last season’s pillow-fight Pro Bowl.
    Goodell’s gotta go!!!

  54. A free week in Hawaii? If they want to play it so bad, let them pay,their own way. These people make more money in one year than most make in a lifetime. The Pro Bowl is a joke.

  55. They should still have an event in Hawaii that’s fun for all. Posing competitions, QB’s backward run, wives & GF’s mud wrestling, etc.

  56. I have no issues if they do eventually decide to drop the game… however, either way they should bring back the skills competition. In fact, they should improve upon it.

    The NHL does a fantastic job with their skills competition. The NFL has a by far larger following, with recognizable names for even the non-diehard fans. They used to have the QB Challenge as well, which was great to watch. The players win, with their vacation (whether or not it is in Hawaii or the Super Bowl location doesn’t matter… to me at least). Fans win, with something that is actually fun and enjoyable to watch. And the owners win, because a skills competition would (and if i remember correctly, used to) bring in viewers to watch something that is most likely/should be low cost to put together.

  57. Indirectly, this has 18-game schedule implications, because one of the reasons the owners want 18 games is that the Super Bowl would then be played on the three-day (for many) Presidents’ Day weekend – but only if the off week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl (during which the Pro Bowl is currently played) is eliminated, assuming the players get a second bye week during the regular season, which the owners essentially agreed to when the subject of going to 18 games was originally discussed (of course the owners agreed to that, since in that case the number of weeks in the regular season goes up by three instead of only two – and presumably, so does the amount of money the owners get from the TV networks).

  58. the NFL aint gone let a man who has never played football on NO LEVEL come an stop the NFL PRO BOWL… This is our game not goodell’s. an we like the game just the way it is

  59. In regards to trying to turn 2 preseason games into regular season games: STOP trying to sell tickets to preseason at full price. Cut them in half. Then fans won’t be upset. Every single study proves this, yet the NFL only wants to try and abstract more money from fans by selling tickets and full price and then converting it to a regular season game to justify it.

  60. I don’t understand the problem. The players want to play the game and there are people who want to watch the game. That I don’t want to watch the game is unimportant. There are lots of things on television I don’t want to watch, that’s not a valid reason to get rid of them.

  61. They need to have a skills competition. Punt, pass, kick, that type of thing. Get creative, have WRs do sprints where they have to catch a ball on the fly. RBs running through tackle dummies. Find ways to showcase the talents of these players, because there is no doubt that the talent is there.

  62. “But if it doesn’t do justice to the shield, then it should be abandoned, permanently.”


    Kinda like ripping off your season ticket holders by charging them full regular season prices for those mediocre preseason games?

    Oh wait.. that does do ‘justice’ to the shield, just not to the loyal fans….

  63. Ratings were high because he expected a game of football, not two hand tap! Get ready though folks. Roger Goodell has not only ruined the Pro Bowl but soon will turn the NFL into a flag football league.

  64. I like the idea someone mentioned of having it as the 1st game of the following season, maybe before the Hal of Fame game. After 6 months of no football, I bet it would get great ratings, 2 hand touch or not.

    The problem is it’s in the middle of preseason activities then, which would force guys to not be as fully prepared for the incoming season, especially if they’ve changed teams. And, in the rare event of a Pro Bowl injury, even a small one, the player would have weeks not months to recover before the season.

    Love the idea, probably would never work though.

    Personally I don’t mind the game as-is. I know it’s not going to be a hard hitting game. And that’s OK, its kinda funny to see them try to tackle with a pinky finger so they don’t get hurt then laugh at each other after the play. I view it as a fun, “game at the local park” type game. And I bet many of the players, especially 1st time attendees, do genuinely like playing that type of game here & there where they can just have fun & mess around. Though I think adding a skills competition on Saturday (or even Friday) would be great.

    They could even remove the “excessive celebrating” penalty from the game and have an award at the end of the game for the most creative TD celebration by a player during the game (like the Madden thanksgiving turkey leg award). Or the best “I sacked you without actually hitting you” you’re sacked gesture / dance by a defensive player… 🙂

    If it’s going to be a ‘fun” game, do it right!

  65. How about and end of the year recap with all the networks information men in a roundtable discussion.Schefter, Mort, Glazer, LaCanfora,Casserly,Lombardi,etc.Tell some stories that didn’t make air.I’d watch that over last years game in a minute.

  66. I hold to my theory that they should play it in the middle of the year – the second week in November. Every team plays for 9 weeks, then the second week in November, only the Pro Bowl is played. The third week in November, no one plays again, leaving that weekend free for all the big college rivalry games. Then come back with the 3 Thanksgiving games, and everyone plays each week the rest of the year. Everything gets pushed back a week from there, ending with the Super Bowl in the second week in February. Everyone has the same bye weeks (good for fantasy football and the money the NFL makes off of it), the players have the 1 or 2 weeks in the middle of the year to rest up for the stretch run, and the football all-star game is played in the middle of the year, just like every other major sport. Even NASCAR has their all-star event in the middle of the year. So the NFL should do the same.

  67. Okay, I keep waiting for someone to suggest this, but why not transform the Pro Bowl into a 2nd bowl game between the losers of the AFC and NFC Championships, The “Bronze Bowl” so to speak?

    You can’t possibly tell me that two teams wouldn’t give us a serious game and a shot at some kind of season redemption the week before the Super Bowl?

    A third place game could be just about as big a bill as the Super Bowl and it would be sure to generate far more revenue, excitement, and ratings then any Pro Bowl would.

  68. Have “skills” contests? Flag football games? More players are injured playing non football games then during regular season. These are very bad ideas. I never watch the probowl cause they players dont give it their all and thats a waste of time. Announce the pro bowlers and let it go at that, dont need a needless game.
    In the late 60s before super bowls, the league had a playoff game between the 2 teams who came in second, this game was played a week after the regular champonship game.

  69. Take all the players named to the all pro team to an underprivalaged community and have them spend a week building houses or doing some other community service type work.

    You could make a reality show featuring stories about the players and people they’re helping and you’d get better rating than the game does.

    Call it Extreme Makeover NFL Edition.

  70. The ProBowl exists only so the network sell advertising time for it. If the networks are considering giving it up it’s only because viewership has finally dropped to the point that they can no longer charge special rates for the pro bowl like they used to for their advertising slots.

  71. What does Goodell want? A game so bitterly contested like a Steelers-Ravens game that will leave people injured and concussed? The man wants to have his cake and eat it too. I guess you can never appease people born with a golden spoon in their mouths.

  72. Play the Pro Bowl as the first preseason game?

    That brings back memories of the old College All-Star Game that had the best college players go up against the defending Super Bowl champion – a truly horrible idea.

    Much better would have been having the WORST team in the league from the previous season play the College All-Stars; that way, there would have been an incentive for a team not to finish worst overall, since they would get saddled with an extra exhibition game if they did.

  73. I’m on board with a skills competition. But I’d also like to see some beach flag football. It’d still be more entertaining than that garbage they put out on the regular field.

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