NFLN will televise three-hour Pro Bowl draft

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As part of the effort to make the Pro Bowl less unwatchable, the NFL has fashioned another three-hour block of unwatchable television.

The league has announced that the first-ever Pro Bowl draft will be televised on Wednesday, January 22.  The event will come a day after the teams, led by Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, draft 11 players who play the least interesting positions — guard, center, fullback, interior defensive linemen, punter, and special teams.

Those players will walk the red carpet at the site of the made-for-TV Wednesday night draft, which should help chew up a few of the 180 minutes devoted to the effort.

Once finalized, the teams will “practice” on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before “playing” on Sunday.

The new approach won’t make the players play any harder.  Which continues to be the biggest problem with the Pro Bowl.

Indeed, Rice himself — who will have a key role in the reconfigured, no-conference-affiliation Pro Bowl — has said that he doesn’t think the changes will work.

“You’ve got prima donnas, egocentrics, who act like it’s not an honor,” Rice said earlier this year, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “Plus, they’re thinking, ‘Why should I go and jeopardize what I’m doing?’ But it should be for the fans. How can you get the players to recognize that it’s an honor? You’ve got to play your best football in the Pro Bowl. So the spirit of this needs to be changed. I’m not sure that can be accomplished now.”

It’ll never be accomplished as long as players who have made it through a regular season and, for many, part of a postseason healthy enough to suit up and play to play so hard that they risk spending the offseason rehabbing and injury and, for some, squandering a free-agency payday.

47 responses to “NFLN will televise three-hour Pro Bowl draft

  1. How about each team represents a charity and all the stats and plays and results contribute to a bank that is made for the charity. And then fans could be encouraged to find a player to sponsor and every player at every position can do things that trigger charity dollars. So you could pick one of the teams’ chosen charities, or pick your own individual charity of choice to attach to a team or player’s performance. And the skills competition stuff, charities make money off that too somehow.

  2. I’m at least excited to see how this draft goes. I hope there’s some smacktalking, that would be entertaining.

    And it really is hard to blame the players being afraid of injury. I’d imagine this year’s avalanche of ACL and knee shots has put that in a lot of people’s minds.

  3. “‘Why should I go and jeopardize what I’m doing?’ But it should be for the fans.”

    The fans don’t want our best players injured in a meaningless game.

  4. This coming from a talking head who contributes (?) to an incredibly overlong pre-game show every Sunday night.

  5. Yay, another 3 hours of a football related show that the NFL has made in order to have advertisement companies pay them to put 2 hours of their commercials in! I can’t wait to watch more commercials! Thanks NFL! I’m pretty sure I’ve watched more commercials than actual football this season, but I’d love to watch more.

  6. Everyone knows the true pro bowl would be played with the Cowboys offense vs the Cowboys defense. It will be a nice practice for them when they play in the Superbowl the following week. Allowing anything but this would be a travesty led by Goodell, and his vendetta vs. the Cowboys.


  7. The NFL seems more intent on making something that consistently fails, work, than rethinking the whole idea.

    The other sports seem to have it figured out, but not the NFL. Its such a joke of a game, I don’t even get why they do it anymore. The ratings are terrible. Players that are named to the pro-bowl opt out and as Rice stated, they don’t give it their all. I don’t blame them really but its a complete waste of everyone’s time.

  8. @America’s Team is God’s Team

    You think you’re funny but alas, you’re as funny as the Cowboys are. Well maybe Jerry.

  9. Move over Tebow, the Redskins name “controversy,” we now have a storyline we’ll hear about for years to come: “A big revenge game on Sunday. X will want to show Y that Rice was wrong picking Y instead of X in last year’s Pro Bowl draft.”

  10. “How about each team represents a charity and all the stats and plays and results contribute to a bank that is made for the charity. And then fans could be encouraged to find a player to sponsor and every player at every position can do things that trigger charity dollars. So you could pick one of the teams’ chosen charities, or pick your own individual charity of choice to attach to a team or player’s performance. And the skills competition stuff, charities make money off that too somehow.”

    This would be so awesome, i’d put 10$ this week if i could do like ‘pay 10$ if X player gets a sack” or “10$ if x player gets atleast 50 yards”. And it’d have to entice players to hit benchmarks, it’d make the fans have a rooting interest, sponsors could say ‘if calvin gets a TD we’ll do 10k, and then if he reaches it they get advertising when it’s like X company just donated…’

    i’m a programmer and i really like this.

  11. Or how about online entries (or phone calls) can contribute to what plays are called. Every person gets one free vote for each play with an online playbook to choose from (or code to enter by phone).

    But for every $1 you spend you can buy 5 votes. $100 buys 1,000 votes. And you can spend your votes all game long in a variety of ways and every play has a new voting window. You can’t see the vote count before you pick how to allocate your votes. This as a converse to the charity idea for those that didn’t like that.

    Also, there’s an option for big spenders of large dollar amounts that can custom craft their own plays by design and the players that fit into those plays. You can draw up your own play, it goes down to the team, and they have to look at it and run it. If you spend the required amount to make them do that.

  12. The best way to make sure an NFL team never returns to LA is to play the Pro Bowl there. After sitting through that, LA fans will remember why they gave up on football in the first place.

  13. Who cares! That goes for both, the Pro Bowl and the people who complain about the Pro Bowl (who are even worse). The Pro Bowl still has more viewers than the World Series so people are watching. If you don’t like it, then don’t watch it. Or watch the whole thing. Or look just watch parts. We’re all aware that guys don’t play hard, it’s not a secret. Just stop whining. Nobody wants to see a torn acl in a preseason or in a more meaningless game played in Hawaii.

  14. osubrndn:

    I’m glad you liked it. I also suggested another thing that can be done with the charities, or for profit as described for that example above.

    I think with the charity it makes the game mean something. Are you going to be the one NFL player that doesn’t play harder than he has ever played before now that sick kids are on the line instead of more bags of money for yourself?

    It can also create a much more complex game and opportunity for the fans to get closer and more into the game. I’m looking for ways to make it interactive, as well as either more profitable or money for the charity. Personally I think all the money should go to the charity since there’s plenty of other ways to boost profits with the sport. But this one is unique to make the Pro Bowl relevant and keep the greed out of it.

  15. I say scrap the game altogether. Just have “All Pro” selections. Either that or play it after the Super Bowl and do the charity thing as suggested above.

  16. Here’s what you do. Have the Pro Bowl the week of the draft.

    All the big money free agents have been signed. This puts some of the risk on the team, not just the player.

    The players haven’t played in a while so they will be hyped up to play again.

    AND, even if the game is crappy, we will be so starved for football by that point, most of us will gladly watch it. A small oasis in the desert of the offseason.

    Having the pro bowl in between the championship games & the Super Bowl (when football is at it’s best & most passionate) really magnifies the poor play of the Pro Bowl. Put it during the draft, and suddenly BAM we got excitement.

  17. The only way I can think of to make the players play harder is to ONLY pick players from teams that didn’t make the playoffs.

    This does several things:

    – Less wear & tear on their bodies, since we’d only pick players who play the least # of games
    – Gives players who may be less known an incentive to play hard by wanting to prove something to their peers & other NFL coaching staffs who work the game
    – Potentially give players who aren’t on TV so much (since they’re on losing franchises) some exposure to increase their marketability

    Sure, the quality of play might suffer…and the only way you’d think that is if you haven’t watched the Pro Bowl in the last 20 years. Personally, I don’t see how the quality of play could get worse.

  18. the pro bowl should be just like any award other show. I would rather Peyton Manning go up there and give a 2 – 5 min speech rather than risk the injury of getting hurt. it would be kind of cool to just see all those guys in the same room getting a sweet trophy. Then you could have the analyst showing videos and highlights of the guys as they are up on stage. … just an idea

  19. This is just another example of what Roger Goodell is all about, how can I make more money for the owners! I’m sorry, I was wrong when I wrote that. Player safety is his main concern. That is why he is pushing for an 18 game season which polls show that fans don’t support. Love those Thursday night games Rog???? Another example of looking out for the health of the players. Playing a game less than a week after a team has played is another example of how you care about player safety and not about making money for the owners???

  20. A dumb idea that somehow got dumber still. Three hours for this so-called draft? I won’t be watching either one. Goodell should have the stones to just scrap the game altogether. But that would imply intestinal fortitude on the ginger hammer’s part, wouldn’t it?

  21. How about, if you don’t go, you don’t get the Pro Bowl bonus and no recognition of the honor. If they don’t care then the pro bowl status doesn’t belong to them.

  22. It’s an all star game. It’s a chance for the fans to celebrate individual players on their all star seasons.

    Since it is tied into fantasy, the nfl should recognise players during this game for having fan friendly fantasy seasons. Put players in who had exceptional statistical seasons.

    It’s not meant to be a real game, why would you want any players risking injury for a game like this one?

  23. Might as well drop the game and just have them compete in a poker tourney, or a Madden bowl.

  24. Draft idea is cool, but 3 hrs long? Gimme a break. Someone needs to take his head out of you know where.

  25. I used to like NFL Network, but with airings of events that aren’t a big deal make me respect it less.

    They first lost my respect after keeping Brian Billick and Heath Evans.

    Now this?

  26. I’d almost watch baseball over this…almost.

    And here’s the pitch…it’s outside, ball 2…let’s wait thirty seconds for the next pitch… Here’s a stat about pitch counts…ok I think the next pitch is coming…no, the batter needs time to wiggle his body…and here’s…no he throws to first…safe…let’s wait thirty more seconds for pitcher and batter to set up…and here’s the pi…no he throws back to first…

    For 162 games.

    If I was a dictator, I’d outlaw baseball.

  27. Skills competition with million dollar prizes for the winners. That’s the ticket. This game will never resemble football.

  28. Yawn. Have never even watched that abomination of a game and sure as hell ain’t going to watch this stupid draft or the stupid new idea of a game either. Dumb, just dumb.

  29. The problem with the Pro Bowl is that it’s meaningless. If you want to make the game watchable then you have to make the players give a crap about the final score. Make winning the game important.

    First, make it AFC vs. NFC again.

    Then pick one:
    1) Skip the coin flip in the Superbowl. Let the team from the winning conference choose as if they’d won it.
    2) Have an 8th round in the draft. Give all 16 teams from the winning conference one pick each.
    3) Give every team in the winning conference an extra $3M in cap room for the next season.

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