NFL considering changing way Pro Bowl teams divided

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell generally approved the play in last year’s Pro Bowl, a subtle affirmation that the league’s threats to the game’s future were noted.

But while the league’s still working on the particulars of the game for next year, there’s also some fiddling with the way teams are picked.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, one suggestion has been to let the players choose sides once they got to Hawaii, or wherever. It’s not a unique idea, as the NHL has already turned the all-star draft into a thing.

Turning the Pro Bowl into a schoolyard game of kickball (except the kickers would be picked last) would freshen up the process, and open the door for new means of marketing, such as picking captains or a rock-paper-scissors tournament.

Frankly, anything to add intrigue would be fine. Even though the television ratings are still good, the game itself hasn’t been much to watch in some time. Goodell can give the “good job, good effort” speech if he wants, but the nature of the game hasn’t changed.

Part of the reason the play declined in recent years, is too many players took the check and the resume line and didn’t bother playing. With a number of deep alternates becoming all-stars, some of the novelty was gone.

Choosing sides might restore some of that, and give more people reason to watch.

63 responses to “NFL considering changing way Pro Bowl teams divided

  1. NHL fan here, just passing through, and if they change it more to what hockey has, as an “all-star draft”, I think it may help, I’ve liked it in hockey so far. worth a shot, right?

  2. WOW GREAT! Watching Tony Romo throw the deep ball to Wes Welker is so much better than seeing Tony Romo throw the deep ball to Brandon Marshall. That Romo-Welker connection is something this game has been missing. There is going to be an explosion of talent and play making ability if the two conferences were to combine!

  3. I didn’t think this game could get any worse but this might make that happen.

    Go back to the game after the Super Bowl with the best players, period

  4. They should move it to back after the Superbowl like it used to be so that we don’t have as many alternates and any leftover bad blood from the big game can find its way onto the field in Hawaii. They should also allow teams to play more than just base defense and blitz.

    I can’t say that a game of rock, paper, scissors is going to make a game of two hand touch more interesting.

  5. The pro bowl is unnecessary risk of injury with no reward for the participants. It’s like having movie actors do acting in a fake movie because they did well in a real movie. Change the pro bowl into a show like the academy awards. Even the Super Bowl guys could be in that. And I’ll bet the football players could give just as good acceptance speeches as the movie actors.

  6. The game shouldn’t be played anymore. It’s not real football. Players don’t want to be injured in a meaningless game so they don’t go all out.

  7. Have the offensive and defensive MVP s be the captains, unless they’re in the superbowl. Then offensive player of the year and defensive poy take over for whoever is missing. Or maybe have the two college coaches that were in the national championship come in and pick teams.

  8. Following Bettman having the NHL do this for its all-star game. IE – Team Crosby vs. Team Ovechkin or whoever.

    And that has been just plain stupid.

  9. Since we can’t have US vs the World – an idea I loved in the NHL – how about SEC grads vs everyone else?

  10. I don’t really like the idea in all honesty. What would happen with the guys who are selected but choose not to play (like Brady for example)?

    Keep it simple. It should be the best players from one conference vs the best from the other.

  11. What’s up with the half minded slow redskins fan?? Always see him with his ignorant uneducated comments!! REDSKINS ARE GARBAGE!! You wish you had ck7 rg3 is to flimsy

  12. Dang it’s about time!

    Now I wish they would do a realignment process too. The NHL is very smart for repositioning themselves there, and the NFL has an opportunity for a brilliant realignment that can drastically change the game for the better for the future. They are nuts if they can’t figure this out.

  13. Varsity vs Junior Varsity: no conference alliance. Guys with 4 or more years vs guys with 3 years or less. Winning team gets winners and losers share of “present payout” and losing team gets per diem only.

  14. I say for every player voted in that declines to play, that position is filled by an “Average Joe”. How awesome would it be to play against these guys that are only giving 1/4 effort! Bet I could beat these chumps for a few TD’s and look awesome in front of the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders who’d be flocking to my room at the Days Inn following my 3 TD performance.

  15. Don’t have the game until after the SB………No official designation of Pro-Bowler on resume unless play game if no viable excused by NFL absence due to injury, etc…..Reserves are not designated as Pro-Bowler but reserve.

    There is no way to get the player to work hard at this low paying game. Increase winning pay and lower losing pay would be a first step.

    AFC v. NFC needs to continue. If just a pick up game, lets just acknowledge it is over and stop the game.

  16. To make the Pro Bowl a good game, just offer the winner of the game $2 million per player and the loser $500k.

    Have each team contribute $4 million every year to a Pro Bowl fund to pay the game’s salaries. Teams can stop writing player contracts that have escalations in player salaries contingent on making the Pro Bowl.

    Making the Pro Bowl automatically ensures them a half million with the possibility of a huge bonus for a win.

    I bet it would be more entertaining than the Superbowl.

  17. perhaps it’s just me – but as an NFL fan, I really don’t understand the league’s emphasis on the Pro Bowl to try to make it “competitive”. to me – it’s a fun game to watch as the players wind down their season and for me to watch one last football game before the off season. i’d hate to see it go away, but i’m not expecting a hard fought, “AFC North battle in December” type of game.

    also – if the NFL really wanted to make it a competitive game – they have to look at their own business model. if an NFL player walks onto the field in Hawaii, slips on the turf, and has a career-ending ACL tear – it’s over for him. the team releases him, and he’s left with just the guaranteed money when he signed and what he earned to date. in baseball – if a player suffered a career-ending injury in the all star game – his contract is guaranteed, and many of the guys that play in that game have already gotten their big career contract. is it worth it for an NFL player to take the risk for a five figure game check and a flight to Hawaii against millions down the road in case of injury?

    the NFL’s vision of an ultra-competitive mega-ratings Pro Bowl will never happen. leave the game as it is.

  18. I never missed the game when it followed the Super Bowl because it was my annual farewell to football. Now I never remember it’s on. Who came up with the idea to position the Pro Bowl so it would be impossible for players from the championship teams to participate? Must have been that genius Goodell 🙄

  19. “school yard kickball?” …are you kidding? And this is suppose to draw attention how? The best thing would be to go back to holding it AFTER the Superbowl so that all the players voted on would be able to play unless they had been injured in the SB.
    This year was pretty good, much more competitive and very entertaining. It’s a tradition and the best idea is for the NFL to QUIT messing with tradition, changing the calendar, adding more games, watering down the game etc. It’s only a matter of time before Soccer replaces the NFL’s “new football”!

  20. Plan A: Instead of Rock Paper Scissors use Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

    Plan B: just euthanize the whole thing.

  21. … and then the skills challenge… and a skills challenge wouldn’t be a bad idea either… skills challenge?

  22. Solution to ‘The Pro Bowl Sucks’ Problem:

    Fact – The only way to make the game interesting is if the players play hard.

    Fact – Players play hard when money is on the line.

    Answer – Pay each player on the winning team $5m/each

    Because, until there’s a real reason for a player to play…they wont play.

  23. The NFL till holds the Pro Bowl? I stopped watching (or caring) when the decision was made to play it before the Super Bowl.
    Any all-star game which doesn’t include players from the two teams competing for the championship is not an all-star game.

  24. The Pro Bowl should not be an actual game it should just be an honor to be named to the pro bowl like all of the “teams” that are put together to honor college football players

  25. Create a big purse split between each of the player’s charities on the side that wins. It would kind of obligate them to make an effort.!

    And have a slew of fan nominated & voted awards given out at a ceremony where the videos are played for certain type of best plays… Best TD reception, best ‘legal’ hit, Best run… Etc etc

    Plus have Roger Goodall do the kickoffs. I’d watch for that alone!

  26. Want to make the players actually “PLAY” and have it mean something? Which ever conference wins then that conferences team in the next years Super Bowl starts with the ball on the opposing teams 20 yard line to start the game.

  27. Baseball and Basketball are the only leagues that should play a game.

    To just drop 75+ football players in Hawaii and then have them play a meaningless game is just dumb. Make it a skills competition. Make it fun. Make it a spectacle….Oh and get it out of Hawaii!!!! When the stadium is 55-60% full and the game means nothing plus bodies and contracts are on the line they will not play hard.

    Not even if you raise the bounty for winning will they play hard. Why would/should they? Pick up a half million to a million or save your body from pointless contact and do one less thing to risk making a 8-10 million dollar signing bonus while spending the week in Hawaii? Which would you chose?

  28. jrae28 says:
    Mar 19, 2013 1:01 PM
    perhaps it’s just me – but as an NFL fan, I really don’t understand the league’s emphasis on the Pro Bowl to try to make it “competitive”. to me – it’s a fun game to watch as the players wind down their season and for me to watch one last football game before the off season. i’d hate to see it go away, but i’m not expecting a hard fought, “AFC North battle in December” type of game.


    I agree the NFL is focusing too much on making it competitive & not enough on end of season closure entertainment value. Make it a celebration of the season.

    I personally haven’t bothered to even know when its on since it was moved to before the Superbowl. And why would I tune in for replacement All-Stars?

  29. Rick Spielman is a Magician says:Mar 19, 2013 12:28 PM

    How about giving the winning conference home field advantage in the Super Bowl?

    Home Field advantage at a neutral Field site?!?!?

    thats brings me to the next point: Don’t Smoke Crack

  30. We clearly have the dumbest Commissioner and Owners in the NFL. Everyday there is a dumber proposal then the previous day. I smell Glazers and Jerry Jones?

  31. Bring back skills competitions.
    Give away a lot of free tickets to fans in the continental 48
    Only pay those that actually play in the game (except super bowl players)

  32. You guys better get used to the Pro Bowl style of play.. The way the rules are changing/adding, the regular season games will all be played like the Pro Bowl..

  33. The Pro Bowl needs a scheduling change, as does the Hall of Fame game. I propose moving the Pro Bowl to Canton and moving the HoF game to 2 weeks after the Super Bowl. The participants are already announced, the league “year” hasn’t ended and enshrinement of the old, while playing a game with the most likely future HoF candidates is a good way to promote the sport.

    The HoF game kicks off the preseason and has always been a worthless game. At least this would make sense, could garner more participation and have a chance to keep the profit-making going past the Super Bowl. Those who tuned out when the Pro Bowl was played after the Super Bowl in previous years, would watch this for the HoF side of things.

    Just my $0.02

  34. scoops1 says:Mar 19, 2013 1:41 PM

    Rick Spielman is a Magician says:Mar 19, 2013 12:28 PM

    How about giving the winning conference home field advantage in the Super Bowl?

    Home Field advantage at a neutral Field site?!?!?

    thats brings me to the next point: Don’t Smoke Crack

    It was an obvious joke, genius.

  35. A little outside the box idea, but what if you award the winning Conference (from Pro Bowl) in the Superbowl (the following week) 3 points at the start of the game. That would definitely make things interesting, more would likely watch the pro bowl, and the players would likely try harder… Maybe?

  36. Like SteelerBen said, move the game back to its old slot, after the Superbowl. That way the players that are actually picked play the game, like it used to be when it was a big thing. Also, It wouldn’t hurt to give the winners something more to play for:

    -Give $150,000 each to the players on the winning team, along with a million dollars to donate to the charity of their choice. The losing team still gets $50,000 a piece just for playing.
    -Have a car company like Dodge or Chevrolet hand over the keys to a Charger or Vette as the prize for MVP. That way, the car company gets free advertisement and the NFL has something cool to give away.
    -Involve fans from the game and from home over the internet. Giving out prizes like Season tickets for the team of their choice or Jersey’s and autographed Merchandise.
    I like the AFC vs NFC, makes the game more interesting, but if you need a change then do AFC/NFC divided by divisions. One year east and west vs north and south or vice versa.
    There is millions of ways to make the game more interesting and successful. The NFL should never shut the game down though, Its tradition.

  37. Fans whining about the Pro Bowl is always hysterical to me. These guys bring me more joy every Sunday than anything in this world ever could. If they want to take it easy on a trip to Hawaii and not try in the Pro Bowl, what do I care? Also, just take the over!

  38. Before the days of rampant reality TV – there was a TV show where athletes competed in a series of skill events. That would be more interesting than the probowl to me.

    Quarterbacks competing throwing for distance and accuracy (eg. into a moving truck…)

    Receivers/corners starting from a spot and trying to make a catch from a machine throwing to different spots or with a greased ball.

    Linemen driving a blocking dummy for time/distance

    Running backs completing an obstacle course

    Kickers… well you get the idea

    Itd be a joke but less so than the football game.

  39. Cancel fan votes, base it off how players performed during the season is the first step, get rid of the game itself and go back to the obstacle stuff, have the qbs throwing at targets and deep ball, bring back something where guys can actually compete and take out the injury for nothing. I think that would be way more entertaining!

  40. I LOVE IT!!!
    And to make it even MORE interesting, have the team that wins the coin flip get the first choice of what color flag to hang from their belts. Now THAT would be interesting!

  41. This might make it worse!!! You already have players taking it too easy on each other. How is it going to be when you have players on the same team going against each other. Is Clay Matthews going to go after Aaron Rodgers if they are on different sides? I don’t think so. Not sure what to do, maybe cancel the thing..

  42. The problem is that its 1 week before the superbowl and right after the season ends so no one really cares if they miss the game.

    They need to move it to the spring or summer when people are wishing for football.

  43. This is weird……Have a game the players could care less about (this is apparent due to all the injuries that happen just before the PB game)…The fans really could care less because the players could care less and it shows.
    So is this another NFL money grab?
    Just end the game and move on…..Roger

  44. make it mid year like NBA and have skills challenge winning team gets a trophy and cash toward charity. gives the winner bragging rights and trophy only changes hands once a year.

  45. AFC/NFC, Coast/Central, or just the East/West Bowl that everybody wants to see.

    Tyroile Smoochie Wallace and Xmus Jaxon-Flaxon-Waxon approve.

  46. skills challenge and drop the game. I’d rather watch these guys play golf for that matter… but I say do a skills challenge like they used to.

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