New Pro Bowl would include two fans in player draft

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Big changes could indeed be coming to the most meaningless NFL game of the year.

In a poll posted by the league at, a device used by one of the league’s marketing groups to get feedback from fans, a question is raised containing detailed information regarding potential changes to the Pro Bowl.

“The NFL is proposing changes to its 2014 Pro Bowl,” begins the question that was forwarded to PFT by a reader who requested anonymity.

Under the proposal, fans would vote during the season for the top NFL players at each position regardless of conference.  For example, instead of voting for three NFC and three AFC quarterbacks, the fans would vote for six quarterbacks from the entire league.  (It’s unclear whether players and coaches would still vote on the players, too.  Currently, fans, players, and coaches each count for one third of the total vote.)

In December, 86 players selected to the Pro Bowl would be announced, with no specific team affiliation.

Then, on the Wednesday before the game, a draft of the teams would be conducted.  The “front office” would include:  (1) a prominent NFL alumnus for each team; (2) the highest vote-getter on offense and the highest vote-getter on defense, with each serving as the on-field captain of a team; and (3) the two fans who scored the most points this season playing Fantasy Football.

The poll then asks the fans who respond to gauge their level of interest, from “very interested” to “somewhat interested” to “a little bit interested” to “not at all interested.”  (We’ll conduct the same poll below.)

This meshes with reports that a draft format “may happen” this season, and the involvement of two fans would give the Pro Bowl the reported “game show” feel.

Finally, a separate poll asks the fans to rank in order of preference the potential name of the new Pro Bowl:  (1) Pro Bowl:  The Players’ Game; (2) Pro Bowl:  All-Star Pick-Up Game; (3) Pro Bowl:  Player Selection Draft; (4) Pro Bowl:  All-Star Fantasy; and (5) Pro Bowl:  All-Star Fantasy game.

Vote below on the changes, and add any other comments you want.

93 responses to “New Pro Bowl would include two fans in player draft

  1. Fan voting shouldn’t be allowed at all — most fans are complete r-words. Fan drafting might be the worst idea I’ve ever heard of — like something on a Stalin level of evil.

  2. Almost as gimmicky as Cousin Oliver, but really nothing the league can do will make the Pro Bowl any *less* appealing at this point…so why not?

  3. Sounds OK I guess. I think the game should be very casual and personable. The players should wear no pads, no helmets, and sort of play pitch-and-catch two hand touch or something. I think it’s more important to see the players’ faces having fun celebrating their success than to see a half-hearted exhibition game. I can see it getting crazy like defensive linemen throwing water balloons at the QBs and endzones could be pools of water. I mean the current format clearly isn’t working so work it the other way. Make it a fun, casual celebration. No bruising.

  4. I don’t have the time to read complex new rules about choosing Pro Bowl players!

    It’s the friggen Pro Bowl. Anyone who deserves to be there doesn’t go.

    Now if they have the worst NFL team play the best college team – THAT I’ll watch. That should also cure anyone taking it like the Colts did, knowing that they’ll face potential humiliation if they lose.

    Talk about reality TV – the ratings will be incredible!

  5. That would be friggen Awesome! I’ll take a trip to Hawaii for a week to meet the best players the NFL has, As long as it is on the NFL’s dime. why not? It surely couldn’t make the pro bowl worse! At least this way a few average Joe’s get to live and mingle with the NFL Elite…i like it!

  6. Eyeroll.

    Nothing is going to make the Pro Bowl interesting as long as the players themselves don’t care about it.

  7. I would imagine the players would want no involvement in this charade. They wouldn’t even be playing for conference bragging rights. What play would want to be just a “fantasy” commodity.

  8. How about the head coach for the game from each respective conference and top voted offensive and defensive players just choose the teams?

    Or the coaches just choose the reserves like in baseball and the fans vote in the starters.

    Those are the guys who will be apart of the actual game.

  9. After all probowlers are selected they should have an online draft between the Coach of the Year and the fans. We “the fans” get to vote for our teams head coach. The online draft would be a live voting poll for the fans.

  10. Whenever the New York Times uses an anonymous source they give a reason why the source needed to remain anonymous. You might consider adopting that policy as well.

  11. What I am interested in is a developmental league so I don’t have to go 6 months without football.

    1) In November expand practice squads to 15 players per team.

    2) Have the teams represent the divisions, for instance AFC West vs AFC East. Teams obviously would be 60 players.

    3) Although the teams are abroad there would still be great interest back in the States. So…..TV revenue would pay for the whole damn thing.

  12. I vote: still couldn’t care less. Football is not a game that lends itself to an all-star game. Do we really expect players of such an injury conducive sport to go all out for a game that means nothing? I say we change it to something like an all conference team in college where they get voted into it as an accolade without the risk of ending their career in a meaningless game

  13. I prefer this, actually I love this. Instead of the AFC vs the NFC, we get the All-Pro game. One with integrated polls of both players and participates.

  14. It would definitely be more interesting, but that isn’t saying much considering the current state of the probowl.

  15. Idea is stupid. Guys aren’t gonna play seriously in a game that doesn’t count and risk injury… no matter who’s selected. Deal with it.

  16. Well, we turn a joke of a game into a bigger joke. Thats the best way to improve it…. /sarcasm.

  17. It would be better if they included two fans in the actual Pro Bowl. Who doesn’t want to see a kid get leveled by a safety across the middle?

  18. You left off the choice, “I’m planning on having severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea which will still be better than watching any iteration of the Pro (but don’t hurt me) Bowl.”

  19. The reason the Pro Bowl isn’t watched is not because of all the “fresh ideas” from the above article. The reasons are that the rules don’t allow players to actually do the things that got them selected to the game, AND the players don’t want to get hurt in a game that means nothing. How to solve it…I don’t know.

  20. Reading the headline, I had momentary visions of fans playing in the pro-bowl…actually, that’s not a bad idea….

  21. I will admit that I am impressed the NFL deemed the unpopularity of the Pro-Bowl being based on how the Pro Bowl rosters are picked, and not on the fact that there aren’t extra Pro-Bowl games being played every year, some internationally.

  22. You’ve still gotta get these lazy idiots to play hard, and this won’t change anything.

    Here’s an idea :one of the most important job of any head coach in the league is to single out those who are “sandbagging it”.
    Give the coach a salary cap, let him decide who gets paid and who doesn’t AFTER the game is played, and let him keep any money leftover, and the winning coach and team get a flat bonus across the board.

  23. Dear Roger Goodell,

    Do you want to make this an exciting and intense game where the players give it everything they got? Simple, all players are guaranteed $100,000 to play and each member of the winning team receives $10,000,000.

    Sincerely yours,


  24. These changes dont really affect the game itself, which will still be the same embarassing sham with nobody giving an ounce of effort. If they dont care when its supposedly about showing conference supremacy, will they really care when its “Do it for PhinsPhanMarino_1313!” ?

  25. Why don’t they add a skills competition. CBS used to have a battle of the qb’s they should incorporate it into the roster of pro bowl events, because that stars and retired players flag football game is an absolute zero.

  26. OOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRR, put the pro bowl AFTER the Super Bowl and give the players some real incentive to play an actual games. The whole player draft is cool and all, but if the effort isn’t their it’s meaningless. If you can’t do that, just send the players on some sort of vacation where they can play a pickup game or something. I realize the whole pro bowl experience is really important for the players, especially younger ones, so I’m not for it getting cancelled completely.

  27. aside from the two fans being part of it, which is just blatant marketing to get more ffl teams to use their site, this sounds like a much more interesting event. I don’t think I’ve watched a pro bowl in 20 years, but I might at least watch the draft.

  28. The selection process would be interesting for a year or two in a car-wreck sort of way. Like bad reality TV. But the game is still meaningless and devoid of real excitement. Comes off as a gimmick, almost cheapens it further.

  29. The Probowl kinda feels like the Grammy, Emmys and all the other awards given to actors that already make millions of dollars. The players are already handsomely rewarded for their performance so it’s just basically icing on the cake. Last year practice squad players made $5700 a week. Do a little more than add 2 fans to the mix and it may draw more interest. The NFL has over 2 millions subscribers to just the Sunday Ticket add in season ticket Holders, Single game ticket purchasers and all the other fans and 2 people are irrelevant. Figure out a way to make it 53 fans per team then whittle down that fan base to 22 per team and you might get a lot more people interested. By making it just for people that play fantasy football that excludes a lot of fans that pump many more dollars into the game.

  30. This would be fantastic. Kind of like a fantasy football championship but played for real. would beat the pants off the current boring format.

  31. I would like to see a game between maybe under 25 year old pro bowlers vs HOFs or at least guys thats been out of the league for a few years.

    Would give us a chance to see if the new guys can learn a few tricks from the older cats.

    would be cool to see Jerry Rice catch a TD from Rodgers over Sherman lol

  32. Daaaammmnnn! That would be some serious changes. But that is exactly what the pro bowl needs. I think “The Players Game” fits the bill. And giving it a Fantasy Football feel gives us freaks some real interest. The one problem i still see is that the players still probably won’t play 100% but then again a set up like this might get the competitive juices flowing a bit more.

  33. I love the outside-the-box thinking and I think this is the right direction to go. Although I still don’t think the game should actually be played, this definitely makes the selection process much more interesting. Here’s an idea: pick the teams with the process outlined in the article then partner with EA Sports to play the game and broadcast it as a simulated video game.

  34. I think this is a refreshing take on the pro bowl. It kind of reminds me of an NHL all star game. It would be pretty cool to see Peyton Manning chucking passes to Calvin Johnson! The only thing I think needs work is the name of the game. My vote is Probowlamania

  35. Cool. I don’t care how terrible ratings are though. Or how awful the pro bowl has become. I still watch it. And they seriously need to make it the game after the Super Bowl again. I cared a lot more when I knew the game would be the final NFL game I’d see for 6 months. This way, members of the Super Bowl teams would still have the option of playing too.

  36. The game stinks. Should be a bunch of drills and contests with an “all-rookie” game. They did that years ago with the skills. QB’s throwing on a course of moving targets. Have kickers play HORSE.

    The NBA does some cool skills stuff for their all-star break. I think people would be more interested in an “NFL’s Fastest Man” contest.

    They also did a alumni game, or beach game I think.

    Do all of that BETWEEN the last week of the playoffs and superbowl on a weeknight.

  37. Everyone hates tie games. It’s like both teams losing. To solve this we make the Pro Bowl a tie-breaker in tied games between teams from different conferences.

    If NFC defeated AFC in the pro bowl the year before, then this year a tie game between a NFC team and AFC team will have the NFC win and the AFC lose.

    Takes care of some useless ties.
    It gives the players something to play for in the pro bowl, as their regular team could benefit from a win.
    It might help make fans vote for the best players, not just fan favorites and own players.

  38. I like the concept but lose the fantasy football points winner part. Some of us have jobs and ya know, like having an actual social life where you talk to real life women not in a chat room….we aren’t locked into our laptops all night…

  39. Sports are great to watch when the teams that are playing are “all-in.” All star games all suck because the players don’t give everything for a truly meaningless game.

    The game of football arguably suffers the MOST of the professional sports if the players don’t really care about the game. For some reason, it’s not as sacrilegious if baseball, hockey, or basketball guys are out there screwing around in a meaningless game. Those can still be kind of fun to watch what players do when there isn’t much defense happening on the field or ice.

  40. Its going to be a little boring – the whole new england patriots team for the afc and then a mix if nfc players. It will be like a maddon game with the pats winning 77-0.

  41. Bring back the QB challenge! Instead of playing a pro bowl game, where the players give less than 50%, why not bring in something old?
    QB’s- accuracy, obstacle course, distance.
    RB’s- speed, catching, obstacle course.
    WR/TE- speed, catching, obstacle course.
    O-lineman- strength, blocking obstacle course.
    D-lineman- strength, obstacle course.
    LB’s- strength, obstacle course, catching.
    DB’s- speed, catching, obstacle course.
    K,P- kicking contests.
    Coaches- take the wonderlic.

    Problem solved!

  42. Just cancel the damn thing already.
    Until the NFL offers 10 times what they pay the winners / losers, these guys are not going to risk injury.
    You can’t reinvent the wheel.

  43. Viewship Focus Group Replys Needed: What will those fans who are picked do? 1. Be Gatorade servants? 2. Be interviewed by some busty sideline reporter as they are controlling the players minds through Madden 2013 microchips in their helmets. 3. Be suited up & used as sacrificial running back dummies to see which team can cause the most grotesque injury for slow-mo review?

    I choose #3. Definately watch for that!

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