Gronk says the Pro Bowl needs to change


Add Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to the list of people who think the Pro Bowl needs to change.

Gronk, who was chosen but declined to attend, said on NFL Network that it’s asking too much of players who played in the conference championship games to turn around and head to Hawaii.

“I mean, that game might need to be changed,” Gronkowski said, via ESPN. “You can’t go the whole season, AFC Championship Game, giving it all you’ve got and thinking you’re going to hop on a flight to fly 12 hours to Hawaii that next Tuesday, when I still can’t even walk because I took like 20 hits that game. I was not hopping on that plane and just be more tight, more sore when I got off, and just be miserable the whole ride. If it was changed . . . I totally understand if you don’t go to the playoffs, you got a few weeks off, the Pro Bowl is awesome. But it’s hard to go from that game, giving it all you got in the playoffs, to go right to the Pro Bowl. You got to have your body rest, man.”

With the Pro Bowl schedule as it is, the players in the Super Bowl can’t play and the players who lose the conference championship games don’t want to play, which means the Pro Bowl is played without players on the four best teams in the league. That’s one of the many reasons the Pro Bowl has become a bad game.

121 responses to “Gronk says the Pro Bowl needs to change

  1. The only way to recover from the rigors of a playoff game is to go out dancing that night.

  2. Aside from Gronk’s point the Irvin vs Rice format is ridiculous. I’m all for cancelling it but if they insist on playing, it needs to go back to AFC vs NFC.

  3. My suggestion: Go 7 on 7. Coaches on sidelines are not allowed to call in plays. Instead QB is mic’d up and calls play in huddle sand lot style.

    Coaches only sub players in and out.

  4. As much as I like the idea of New England’s “Gang of Seven” making a pact to snub the Pro Bowl together as a group, what Gronk says makes a lot of sense.

    Teams who perennially make it deep in the playoffs have shortened seasons already and their Pro Bowl players need to take care of their bodies first and foremost – not to mention deal with the mental and emotional aspect of just losing a huge game and having the season come to a crashing halt.

  5. Add a skills competition to the weekend event. Be much more interesting to watch than the pro bowl draft

  6. The reason the Pro Bowl has become a bad game is because the player dont play the game anymore. They walk thru it……..

  7. The pro-bowl was never a “good” game. Maybe a little interest in early merger years of seeing how the best of each conference match up.

    But otherwise the whole exhibition-game concept (across all sports) is a diminished dinosaur. In my dad’s day, far fewer games, no color tv (or even b&w until mid-60s) and half a year listening to a few secondary sport interests on radio, and no other interests except pub darts, he’d go to the occasional local exhibition game in one of the main sports. Even when I was younger, off-season was a sports wasteland (unless you like golf or tennis). But nowadays 24/7, 365 HD on-demand expanded competitive world-sporting calendars, 500 tv channels, cheap travel, many other forms of affordable entertainment, all make the exhibition game a little, dare I say, too “20th century”.

  8. First of all is the game for the fans or is it a reward for the players that already made more money in one season than most people make in a life time? It its for the fans, then the game should be played at a rotating location on the main land, like baseball. As the game is now, well who cares? It is not watchable. Personally I think it’s best to trash it.

  9. I’ve been against pro bowls and remember the beach games years ago. I remember watching Robert Edwards destroy his career in that useless game. What if that was one of your guys? Whole lot of nope from me. I watched the nhl all star game with my bro. That was an excellent example of how it’s done.

  10. The Gronk is spot on with this. To be honest it probably has to go. The game is too dangerous even by today’s standards. Players understandably don’t play hard and that must be quite tough as it is. Something has to be done to honor the best performing players for the season and the voting system also needs to looked at. At least if its a ceremony / presentation you get the top players and not the next man up. Also the last week and post season performances should count, as most is riding on these games.

  11. If the very best players don’t play, which they don’t, then the whole thing is meaningless…

  12. I love the Pro Bowl. but they need to move it to Two Weeks after the Super Bowl Problems solved. Then you can have half time festivities involving the Super Bowl winner.

  13. Gronk did go on to say “to be fair, if we weren’t cheating every year, we’d probably wouldn’t make it in to the playoffs, and then I’d have the proper amount of rest. So it’s a catch-22.”

  14. Does anyone over the age of 12 watch the game? It’s always been the worst All-Star game and very boring to watch.

    5 of the top 6 QBs backed out of the game so the 7th through the 11th best QB played and now has the pro-bowl “honor” attached to their career. What’s the point?

  15. I agree with Gronk 100%.
    I don’t in the sense they do this all season long. Get beat up in New York then fly seven hours to San Diego for the next game. O fly home immediately after that to Seattle for six hours then later in the week after getting beat up in practice fly several more to Atlanta. Better yet that midseason game in London. Players do it all the time. Maybe his real reason for complaining is not as much the physical aspect but because it’s not really a game. Sure he loves the free trip to Hawaii but for what? Definitely won’t take a beating or hits in that game.

  16. Just put the freakin’ thing out of our misery, already.

    Another NFL moneygrab – without providing REAL competition.

  17. Moving the probowl before the superbowl was the stupidest thing the league has done to it. Moving it away from Hawaii was the second stupidest thing, but at least they realized that.

    It belongs 2 weeks after the SB or so.

  18. Hey rob, nobody is forcing you to continue in your chosen profession. It’s voluntary. Retire, change careers, it’s all about choices. Stop wining

  19. the game has become ridiculous. While we’re on ridiculous, Blandino has confirmed that PSI readings WERE recorded this year.

    Another day, another Goodell lie exposed. This is your hero Hateroids.

  20. Just leave it the way it is (except the Irvin vs Rice bs), if the veterans don’t want to go then keep filling the roster with young guys. By the way there were plenty of veterans that DID go play in the game, Adrian Peterson, Charles Woodson, Julius Peppers, Clay Mathews to name a couple.

    There is no perfect setup, some guys just aren’t going to want to participate.

    Also, Gronk is probably the most ridiculous person to comment on it since he has probably flown all over the country to party since the AFC Championship.

  21. I said years ago that they should just put on those challenges like they used to do back in the day during the offseason. I used to love to see those in the summer when you’d get some of the best QBs in the game doing those distance and accuracy events. You could come up with different things like that for other skill positions and defensive players and offensive linemen could just get bonuses for being named to the team.

  22. .
    NFL wants more money… so it must stay as it is…
    They will fix this by fining the guys who get chosen and don’t go…

  23. Still collecting a game check for playing a few snaps, nobody is tackling and you get a free trip to Hawaii. So what if you have to “play” a week after a game that you lost. I’d love to get 59 or 30k for an hour of simulated work.

  24. Poor baby. All expenses paid trip to Hawaii so players can sleepwalk through a game? Wish my company would do that for me.

  25. The Pro Bowl was always a bad game. The only difference is that no one burned calories complaining about it before.

    Just another example of the modern recipe for controversy:

    1) Identify issue
    2) Add Internet
    3) Repeat as necessary

  26. The whole game is useless. Just cancel the damn thing already. It’s hardly a competition as much as it is just a display.

  27. Make it a two day experience along with skill events and the game can be played on the second day. Go back to NFC vs AFC and events are worth points along with the game. The carrot is the winning conference gets some type of advantage in the Super Bowl Iike choice to kick or receive. In addition, get a sponsor to pony up money to increase the wining bonus. You can’t tell a draft king or whoever would not jump at the chance to put thee name ahead of the probowl in turn the average player gets $500K for winning!

  28. How about just getting rid of the Pro Bowl completely?? Have one week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. When the Super Bowl is over, so is the NFL season.

  29. It don’t need to change, it needs to go away! Just select and name the players. Instead of the game just show high lights of each player during the season.

  30. The pro bowl is a great idea that can’t be executed…the nature of the game works against it…a mid winter award ceremony is a better concept!

  31. Never considered that, seems like a valid point. Whenever you rip it up it always hurts more the day or two after.

  32. Gronk’s got a point, my thought is this: If the NFL wants to keep buzz going have it after the Superbowl. You can have the AFC vs NFC, offer big paychecks to the winners and something good to the losers to get them to play hard. You can have it two Sunday after the Superbowl, which would keep it before the scouting combine but still give plenty of time if (god forbid) an injury takes place.

    I love the idea of as much football as possible but you have to give their bodies time to rest some, you’ll get a better product on the field for the game if guys are rested and prepared for another game.

  33. Gronk makes a valid point. Why not have the game a month after the SuperBowl? It would give us a (crappy) football fix…and still allow injuries to heal up if they happen.

    But it still won’t matter if they don’t remove the fans from the voting process and change it back to NFC vs AFC.

    Or, they could move it to after the draft and play only rookies and 2nd year players.

    Or, they could feature all undrafted players looking for a last chance to get with a team. Have it one week after the draft…two at most, and don’t allow undrafted players to be signed before the game.

  34. If they insist on playing the Pro Bowl then it needs to move to back after the Super Bowl. Make it two weeks after to drag the NFL season out just a bit longer.

    I’m all for instead removing the Pro Bowl completely and playing the Free Agent game. They could leave it in the week between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl. All of the players would be invitees and prospects that are not under contract with any team. They’d be playing for an opportunity to get into the NFL so you know that they’d play their hearts out. It would be much more useful than the veteran combine because it gives you live action tape. It also would give fringe/second chance players, former practice squad guys, and Arena, CFL, or other league players a chance to show their stuff with NFL coaching.

    The NFL could even do BOTH. Save the half speed Pro Bowl for two weeks after the Super Bowl when people might not notice the decline in play because it is one last chance for NFL at the end of the season, and play the all out Free Agent Bowl (think an even more desperate 4th preseason game) as a lead into the Super Bowl, raking in the dough from both.

  35. They should switch it back to the way it was with the Superbowl before the Pro bowl. If you can prepare for a game in one week and win you should be able to prepare for the Superbowl the same way. No need for the extra week off. Superbowl last week of January, propel in February. At least that alleviates Gronk’s gripe. Superbowl players can decide if they want to play in the pro bowl or not

  36. He’s paid millions of dollars a year. But, we certainly wouldn’t want him to give a thank you to the fans, with a free trip to Hawaii, if he’s going to be “tight” from a plane ride. That sounds tortuous!!

    Man, even when they aren’t playing the Patriots are cry babies.

  37. Should axe the game. NFL wants a year round product. Why not make it a weekend event in Hawaii in between the SB and NFL Draft. A formal acknowledgement to those who made the ProBowl along with officially handing out MVP, MIP, Coach of the Year etc.. Maybe they can also officially announce the HOF inductees and release the schedule. Throw that in with some skills competitions and I’d rather spend a weekend in say Early March watching that than I would the ProBowl.

  38. Just have em play beer pong on the beach… It’d be more competitive than the glorified flag football it’s become…

  39. He’s making a sensible argument to fix a game that fans constantly whine about, he actually knows the pros/cons of the situation.

  40. The top players for the Buffalo Bills played in EVERY pro bowl no matter how bad they got their butts kicked in the Super Bowl that year. Guys played hurt!

    Kelly played a week after getting a concussion. Im not saying that was smart, but these guys cared about it, and they wanted to work hard and win.

  41. hairdownthere says:Feb 4, 2016 9:03 AM

    So Gronk is now the spokesperson for all things NFL?? LMAO, that’s a hot mess!



    No..If you read the article he simply answered the question why he isnt playing . The NFL needs to listen to the players . Take into account they want to go to 18 games and other extensions to the game this is important topic. Roster need to be expanded to 60 and or practice squads increased from 7 to 12 or let those ps players be active on game day. Injuries are a part of the game and the NFL knows this and needs to plan accordingly..

    Report comment

  42. The actual game is a complete waste of time. It should be cancelled, but being named to the team is good because it incentivizes the players financially.

  43. The real reason is that the NFL is the one sport where there’s a high probability of risk to your entire career by playing the equivalent of an All-Star game. That’s why it became so lame and interest dropped. Two decades ago, the payoff for playing made it a consideration, but with multiple millions on the line, a $29k or $58k payoff isn’t worth it.

  44. “I totally understand if you don’t go to the playoffs, you got a few weeks off, the Pro Bowl is awesome.”

    Come on Rob, how could you understand? You’ve never missed the playoffs in your career.

  45. Someone help me understand why (other than the almighty $$) why the owners risk having their best players participate in this game…some of them not having played for 30 days?

  46. Move it back to the week after the Super Bowl. Go back to NFC/AFC teams. Skills competition on Saturday, 7-on-7 football on Sunday. And get over the fact that the NFL All-Star weekend is now like the other major league All-Star events.

  47. I can’t believe so many of you are trying to make this about Gronkowski.

    The ProBowl is akin the NFL Draft. A non-event.

    I guess if you’re unfortunate enough to play in Cleveland then going to Hawaii might be a benefit. Otherwise it just opens you to injury and the end of your income/career! No reason to play in this.

  48. Just let well-rested replacement players from teams like the Dolphins play in it.

    Breaks up the golf season a bit.

  49. Webster’s Dictionary defines Meaningless as an adjective to describe the NFL Pro Bowl. A game without merit, without redeeming qualities.

    The National Spelling Bee had the word Meaningless…the contestant asked for it to be used in a sentence. The moderator said, “Every year the NFL conducts a meaningless game in Hawaii called The Pro Bowl.

  50. Look how many “don’t play it” comments there are!

    I have NEVER watched a probowl. I never will waste my precious time on this earth doing so.

    Get rid of it NFL.

  51. I have no problem with the pro bowl being a big goof off game it makes it fun to watch. I know the commish wants his money but f the ratings. Do it after the super bowl hell make it 2 hand touch so nobody gets hurt in a meaningless game. Make it a globetrotter type of event!

  52. Pro Football was not meant to be played as an exhibition.

    As a super fan that rarely misses my team’s game, watches numerous other league wide games and almost NEVER misses a playoff game…..I would prefer AFC vs NFC:

    -Skills Competition

    -Jungle Obstacle Course (ie Tough Mudder)

    -Combine drills

    -Flag Football
    …Yes, you read that right. I would rather watch a competitive FLAG FOOTBALL game

    In that order.

  53. daddeeo says:
    Feb 4, 2016 9:33 AM
    Look how many “don’t play it” comments there are!

    I have NEVER watched a probowl. I never will waste my precious time on this earth doing so.

    Get rid of it NFL.

    #1 rated cable show on Sunday by a landslide with 8 million viewers.

  54. The Pro Bowl is a joke. If the NFL needs another game let them pit the number 3 and 4 teams, (this years Cardinals and Patriots). As a pre game to the super bowl. Its nice to see who “some” people think are the best but it is very much up in the air of who is really best and then it leaves out those playing in the super bowl. I haven’t watched it for years and probably won’t again.

  55. gysot says:
    Feb 4, 2016 8:58 AM
    Dont worry the pats window for making the playoffs is one maybe two more years.

    dolphindad says:
    Feb 4, 2016 9:00 AM
    dont worry about it Gronk, its not a problem you are going to have again. Brady is done.

    Where have we heard this before?
    Oh yeah, last year and the year before that and the year…
    A broken clock is right twice a day, which is still twice as often as the folks making these statements. Meanwhile back here in the land of reality NE will reload and be back ruining their Sundays again this Fall.

  56. There could be a ceremony to honor the leagues best players. Playing in a meaningless game, is no way to honor the greatest players. Are fans really attracted to fake completion anyway? Not any fans that I know.

  57. they do it for 16 weeks every year. That’s not a good reason to get rid of it. Get rid of it because it sucks. No need in searching for any other one.

  58. f the NFL needs another game let them pit the number 3 and 4 teams

    They did have a “third place” bowl back in the day just after the merger.

    If they want to do that then how about the winner of that game gets the #29 draft slot and the loser gets #30 instead of the other way around. Or how about the loser gets #32 and the two Super Bowl teams move up. 🙂

  59. When you see the likes of Tyrod Taylor in the pro bowl then you know the game sucks.

    If you want a good game, give the good players a reason to say yes.

    I like the idea of going back to AFC vs NFC and having it 2 weeks after the Super Bowl. Make it mandatory to attend too like the NHL does with their all star game.

  60. put it back where it always was after the SB. Let them go to Hawaii. Just play a charity game of Splashketball in like 5 feet of water so nobody drowns or gets hurt. Have the lifeguards from Baywatch (or updated versions) keep an eye on everyone. Except for the Hoff!!!

  61. Interesting how all the young guys who werent even born yet can say it has always been a bad game. I got news for all you Millennials…it was a great game to watch at one time until your ilk became involved…..

  62. First let me start by saying I’d much rather them do a skills challenge than an actual game. Having said that I think Gronk is full of crap. I don’t seem to recall any Patriots having a problem flying out to The Pro Bowl after “giving it all they had” winning the Super Bowl (when it was held after the Super Bowl).

  63. dynastyposeiden says:
    Feb 4, 2016 7:58 AM
    replace the hall of fame game with the pro bowl … kick off new season by celebrating last seasons stars


    Nice thought but do you really wanna take a chance of you star players getting hurt before the season starts in a meaningless game? most of the Hall of fame game is played by second and third stringers.

  64. “Robert Edwards didn’t destroy his knee in the Pro Bowl.”

    You’re right, he destroyed it in some stupid beach competition that was part of the Pro Bowl week.

  65. That is not one of the main reasons. It is the pro bowl. It has ZERO significance to the outcomes of the season.

    The only event like this that matters is the MLB all-star game because it determines home field advantage, it’s a great fan experience, and players like it. The HR derby just sucks.

    NFL is greedy and that’s the only reason the pro bowl exists, and it no longer should be mentioned along with any hall of fame consideration bc it is a complete joke

  66. Millenial here. I like the Pro Bowl, always have.

    A skills competition will not be interesting, don’t fool yourself. Plus no bar in their right mind would put on a skills competition and expect customers to be interested, they will just switch to hockey.

    It’s a game of football, I think it’s fun even in its current form, give the guys a break they don’t always need you calling for their blood for 29 grand they are doing this for our entertainment after all, there is no contractual obligation.

    The game is now in itself a skills competition/7 on 7, except it’s dressed up, it’s better now than any suggestion ive seen.

  67. NFL Ticket and Redzone subscriber. Three TVs in my mancave all have football games on Sunday. Watch as many football games as possible throughout the season.

    Yet I can’t even remember the last time I watched the Pro Bowl. Everything about the game is a complete joke.

  68. It’s pretty clearly an issue of incentive… For *real* games, players routinely go on 1 week recovery or less. The Pro Bowl game itself rarely results in real injuries (Brees was an exception). The initial Pro Bowl selections are generally highly-paid players, and a Hawaii trip and relatively small game check are not enough to entice most of them.

  69. Hey Gronk as a former athlete and “Big Dog” Partier I can tell you the best way to beat soreness from competition, is the same as the best way to beat a hangover. You keep playing, just like you stay drunk! It works man!!

  70. Keep it. As said earlier in this thread – move the ProBowl to 2 weeks after the Superbowl. For me, two weeks without NFL football is just about enough to make me desperate enough to watch the ProBowl, and actually appreciate it too.

  71. Gronk at the Pro Bowl, a meaningless game where the effort level is right about the level of a celebrity softball game ….no interest at all.

    Gronk on “Am I smarter that a 4th Grader”…TV Gold!!

  72. unclebluck says:
    Feb 4, 2016 7:47 AM
    The reason the Pro Bowl has become a bad game is because the player dont play the game anymore. They walk thru it……..

    The problem with this comment, and others like it, insinuate that the game has been good at some point – which it hasn’t. Move the Pro Bowl weekend to the week after the Super Bowl and make it an awards ceremony. Announce MVP, ROY, etc, at the event. These guys don’t need to play “football”. Honor the best and not the sixth and seventh alternates who routinely are the ones at the game now.

  73. I love how people say stop complaining. Do they not realize that the media is asking them their opinion? It’s not like Gronk is just stopping people on the street on his way to the local deli and telling them that the NFL needs to change the Pro Bowl format.

  74. marvsleezy says:
    Feb 4, 2016 9:16 AM

    The top players for the Buffalo Bills played in EVERY pro bowl no matter how bad they got their butts kicked in the Super Bowl that year. Guys played hurt!
    Difference is the game was always the week after the Pro Bowl. You knew you were going, win or lose in the Super Bowl. Guys in the conference championship games DON’T.

  75. What would really be cool is to have a flag football tourney with the top players and also fans that have won that chance to play. Have maybe 4 teams total? Idk. Something like that. I think it would be cool to see fans playing with the best players.

  76. You can thank Gooddell for that. It was better when it was 2 weeks after the Super Bowl and those players that played in the SB have the option to attend also. Good Job Gooddell you asshat!

  77. This is one of the most intelligent things that Gronk has ever said. I’m beginning to think he’s actually pretty smart while cultivating and enjoying his dumb jock image.

  78. Football is a unique beast from an all-star game perspective. NHL, NBA, MLB…. those games can feature the players going through the motions. They don’t have to play physical if they don’t want. The NBA all-star game is essentially a dunk exhibition, with alleyoops and three pointers on every possession (also unwatchable for anyone who loves basketball). NHL did a great job this year by introducing 3-on-3 and providing incentive for players to actually try to win the game. That was a real treat.

    But the NFL is different. You can’t go through the motions, because by its nature someone has to be tackled on every play. So why would players risk their bodies for this? And as Gronk said, now that the game is played the week between the championship game and the Super Bowl, players have even less time to physically get ready for it.

    The NFL should scrap the actual game, and focus on skill-based competitions only. Schedule it for after the Super Bowl (maybe two weeks after) and use it as a reward for players who were actually chosen. Have an accuracy contest for the QBs, 40-yard dash contest for WRs, etc. And then just have the players accessible to fans and the media.

    That’s how I’d do it.

  79. If the Pro Bowl is to be held at all, consider having it in Canton the following preseason instead of that being the first preseason game.

  80. When the money on contracts go up, the whining goes up too. The Alan Page’s and Merlin Olsen’s of the world played hard because the payout was huge to them. And they didn’t whine about being so close to end of year. Shut up Gronk. You didn’t go anyway.

  81. Here is what you do:

    Make it in early April just when everybody is getting over March Madness. The players have time to recover and start offseason work and are missing football as much as the fans are. AFC vs. NFC make it happen.

  82. Thumbing your nose of the invite along with all 6 other teammates. Then denouncing the game really paints you in a good light.

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