Pro Bowl likely moving back to AFC-NFC format

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The Pro Bowl needs to go. For now, it’s simply going from Hawaii to Orlando — and going from the goofy fantasy football format back to the traditional clash of the conferences.

Via, Falcons CEO Rich McKay recently told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the game likely will revert to the AFC-vs.-NFC format.

The once-and-future natural alignment of teams was ditched in favor of something that was supposed to generate more interest in an uninteresting game. It hasn’t worked. Beyond the issue of players not playing hard enough (and for good reason) during a meaningless game to end the season, more and more players are bailing (and for good reason) on one final opportunity to enter the offseason with an injury — which is precisely what happened to Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert during the NFL’s most recent All-Star-Sort-Of game.

While the game seems to have more buzz when it’s played in the contiguous U.S., players will be less interested in a free trip to the land of Sea World and Disney and putt-putt golfing. With more and more players realizing that it’s not in their best interests to risk spending the offseason recovering from surgery, more and more will find a way out of the game.

They all should want to find a way out of it. At one point, Commissioner Roger Goodell huffed and puffed about getting rid of the game completely. The players, at the time, wanted to save it. Now, they should let Goodell blow the house down.

He won’t, as long as we watch the game. And we watch the game about nothing because it’s on TV. And it will be on TV as long as we keep watching. Which will keep happening as long as it’s on TV.

88 responses to “Pro Bowl likely moving back to AFC-NFC format

  1. Make a skills competition out of it. would be cool to do accuracy, distance, best catch, redone 40 yard races, etc. The game itself is pointless.

  2. As long as the greedy owners can make a dime out of this farce, the game will stay. To hell with the players. They couldn’t care less when it comes to stuffing their pockets.

  3. And that won’t make any difference to it being a pathetic excuse for a football game that nobody much watches

  4. In his ridiculous quest to expand outside the borders, I’m surprised that the Fuhrer hasn’t started taking the Pro Bowl overseas to cities that he may envision as being homes for future franchises.

  5. I’ve never watched a pro bowl game, nor do I intend to. Time for it to go away permanently.

  6. Duh now keep it Hawaii and actually spend some money on the event for the fans, the NFL used to go all out for this event. I went last year and it was like the NFL spent very little to make the event great. Come on greedy NFL, do you really have to make millions on every everything you do. This should be about the players and the fans. Going to miss my week long vacation in Hawaii.

  7. I have to agree with those in favor of a skills competition. The NHL has a skills competition (or at least it did for a while), and that was the best part. People watch the home run derby. I used to always watch the skills competition when I was a kid, then they got rid of it. So my main question is, why did they get rid of it? Did the players not want to do it? If that is the case then there is no hope for the pro bowl. It cant be viewers. Lets face it, people tune into the underwear Olympics in Indy every year, they would certainly tune into watch a skills challenge

  8. The Pro Bowl is on its way out, no doubt about it. So here’s what you do

    Keep it in Hawaii and announce the teams. Pay for a vacation for those players and their families and turn it into a weekend to celebrate the season. Hold your “awards show” Saturday night and on Sunday cap it off with a college all-star game for the seniors getting ready for the draft to showcase their skills.

  9. Many of the contract bonuses are tied into selection to the Pro Bowl. Perhaps they should issue penalties to the bonus if they don’t show up unless the participants are in the Super Bowl. When the league has to get down to the 7th or 8th choice at positions, then you know the players don’t care. They’ll care when they don’t get the bonus.

  10. I can’t believe I’m actually going to type this, but …

    Get with Gary Bettman. The NHL all star game was a winner this year.

  11. And here I was looking forward to Team Sapp playing Team Hardy. Now looking for a way to blame this on Brady, the Patriots and hot air no one cares about anymore.

  12. Does anyone honestly still watch this game?
    I say award the pro bowl players and call it a day. But as ez4u2sa said the owners are greedy so they will continue to have this awful game because of the money.

  13. Have Ricky Gervais host the game and have the press sit behind the players and drink and heckle. Have that guy who played Borat come out and do something. I’d watch.

  14. ez4u2sa says:
    Jun 1, 2016 11:00 AM
    As long as the greedy owners can make a dime out of this farce, the game will stay. To hell with the players. They couldn’t care less when it comes to stuffing their pockets.


    You couldn’t be more wrong.

    The players are paid to participate in the probowl. Some players even have escalators in their contracts just for being named to the probowl, whether they play or not.

    It is also completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not playing in the probowl. If the players don’t feel a paid vacation for their family and $50,000 isn’t enough for them to half-ass it around the field for a few hours then they don’t have to go.

    The probowl does need to go or needs to change but that has nothing to do with the league taking advantage of the players.

  15. Here’s an idea: name guys as Pro Bowlers, but don’t actually have a game that nobody wants to play or watch. They don’t get the Honor Roll students together at schools and then make them take a meaningless test.

  16. Well, if the league isn’t going to get rid of it, it’s better off going back to the way it was. Goodell and his minions have turned what was an exhibition game into an unwatchable parody.

  17. I imagine that the “greedy owners” will twirl their mustaches while they tie the players girlfriends to the railroad tracks, all the while cackling to themselves and rubbing their hands together.

  18. A skills competition? Seriously?

    The only thing less interesting than watching a bunch of players play halfheartedly in a meaningless game is watching players throw balls through hoops and other players run sprints in shorts.

    If all of the people who said they were going to stop watching it actually stopped watching it, it would go away. But it still gets good ratings, so it won’t.


  19. The Pro Bowl will NEVER measure up to other sports’ all-star games because a) of the potential of getting hurt so players rightfully half ass it and b) it’s a team and scheme game in which all of the parts habe to work in sync and so is less individualized.
    Like others have said, turn it into a celebration with a skills competition for the various positions. You could even have linemen do it like who can bench the most, who can run the fastest shuttle, etc. Heck, throw in fun stuff too like a pie eating contest as we know dem fat guys love to eat! I bet the players would really get into it and could be fun! I’d watch it rather than skip it like I do now.

  20. Either a skills contest or a game that means something. Like the two conference championship losers playing and the winner gets an extra compensatory pick in the third round. Or the two worst teams playing with the winner getting the #1 choice, to try to eliminate the “suck for Luck” stuff.

  21. Ha! Some of you may have to google this, but…I predict a return to the 1973-1994 ” Superstars TV show ” format. A non contact athletic competition that the NFL can sell to advertisers to replace the 2 hour time slot.

    I didn’t say I liked it. Just thinking like an owner wanting to make money.

  22. Flag football. I’m serious. Divide the players into 7 man flag teams (3 linemen per team) and have a tournament over the weekend – indoors. Televise every game. Us stupid fans will watch and there will be even more TV ad revenue with all the games. Put the championship game on prime time with all sorts of ridiculous hype, smokey player introductions and fireworks. Each player on the winning team takes home a whopping $250K. The losers get $50k. The lower bracket teams get $25k to $10k depending on how far you advance. As far as cash goes, the small number of players on teams means the payouts for the league is not that great. And players will play hard for a quarter million winners share.

    And in the immortal words of James Earl Jones, people will watch. People will most definitely watch.

  23. re-brand it the Future Pro Bowl and make it a college all star game. Invite players that may be lower round picks and give them an opportunity to show what they can do to a large audience.

  24. Combine the senior bowl with the Pro Bowl. Have the seniors play the game and have the NFL Pro Bowlers in a skill competition and on the sidelines during the game. It will be entertaining and competitive.

  25. SO MUCH WHINING AND COMPLAINING from people that don’t watch it anyways. Guess what, nobody’s forcing you to.

    Some of us just like the Pro Bowl “game” because the superstars are together and having fun on the field. None of us are expecting a high-level competition.

  26. The Pro Bowl worked best when it was in Miami the week before the Super Bowl. It was more about a celebration of the players season, it was a great fan experience. You had all of the excitement for the Super Bowl and it gave the NFL a chance to keep everything in one area while ending the season with the final event being the Super Bowl game.

    The skills competition would be a great addition. They could borrow from the NBA and have a Saturday night skills night with various competitions. The actual game doesn’t need to be an All out passionate game, too much risk for injury. Cut down the quarter length.

  27. The nfl needs to listen up and bring back the skills competition. I liked watching that as a kid when I had no idea what a blitz was, it was just fun watching the players cut up and show their unique skill set.

    Even now as a football fan, I couldn’t care less about the pro bowl game. I respect the honor (as hoakam as it may be) but I don’t see the point in watching franchise players half ass a glorified practice.

  28. I thought the fantasy football concept was stupid.
    It made an unwatchable game even more unwatchable if that’s possible.
    Why would I want to see a mish mash of players coached by retired football players play against each other?
    Who do I root for in this meaningless, boring game?
    At least now I can pretend to care that the NFC won when it has zero impact on my life or anyone else’s.

  29. Old format PLUS skills competition. With skills participation by players at EVERY position.

  30. lets not make it a skills competition, probably the worst idea ever… … I wouldnt watch a skills competition either…. pretty meaningless… i feel the fantasy football format is better than NFC vs AFC and gives the guys an opportunity to build the teams how they want…

  31. Just get rid of the game and keep the title “Pro Bowler.”

    Give players who make the list a small bonus or something (how about a couple hundred thousand and a free trip to hawaii?) for making it.

    The best part is the title of Pro Bowler will mean something again, because for years now it hasn’t, and means less with each passing year due to so many 5th, 6th, and worse alternates taking the place of the players who don’t want to go.

    Jameis Winston a “Pro Bowler?” What a joke.

  32. granadafan says:
    Jun 1, 2016 11:11 AM
    Many of the contract bonuses are tied into selection to the Pro Bowl. Perhaps they should issue penalties to the bonus if they don’t show up unless the participants are in the Super Bowl. When the league has to get down to the 7th or 8th choice at positions, then you know the players don’t care. They’ll care when they don’t get the bonus.
    Much of that is a collective scam by the players/union against the NFL/teams. Some guys are are actually injured and many do not want to risk injury but the rest are just bilking as much money as possible from the individual teams. Player A gets selected and collects on his contract escalators and then drops out. Player B gets bumped up and he also gets his contract bonus even though he did not really make the cut. They keep doing this until they find somebody who actually wants to go (usually a first timer). That is how we wind up with 4th and 5th alternates going. EVERYBODY keeps their extra cash and the last few who actually go get the relatively small paycheck fro playing in the pro bowl itself. If the NFL tied the contract bonus to the game itself (rather than selection) the dropouts would decrease considerably.

  33. As a diehard NFL fan, I will admit to not watching this farce for years now. Do away with it and go with the consensus that clearly favors the non-contact skills competition…

  34. Here’s an idea

    put Brad’s suspension on hold

    have the pro bowl, the Patriots versus members of the whining teams who claim the Patriots cheat:


    if the Patriots win, no suspension and they get their draft picks from the losing teams

    If the Patriots lose, they lose all their draft picks and Brady sits out 8 games

  35. I actually miss the AFC VS NCF format. I also prefer it AFTER the superbowl. It was often the last time you got to see good players that were retiring. John Elways last game wasn’t at the Superbowl it was at the Pro Bowl. It’s dumb to have it the week before the superbowl when many guys can’t even make it…..and while they are busy reverting things can we have our Draft Weekends back please? The NFL killed Draft parties with its 4 day format

  36. Who gives a hoot about this worthless piece of crap? They could play it in my backyard and I still wouldn’t watch it.

  37. Get rid of it. Name the players as Probowlers for contract purposes. I couldn’t care less other than worrying about a player on my team getting hurt in a meaningless game…Bengals fans can attest to this.

  38. (Sarcasm on)

    I think they should get rid of the Pro Bowl because it will hurt the feelings of all the players that don’t get voted to the Pro Bowl. Like the school district in NC that just got rid of the valedictorian at graduation, because awarding that to the most deserving and highest achieving student will hurt the feelings of those that didn’t earn that honor

    (Sarcasm off)

  39. As many have said, make it a skills competition. That would at least be somewhat interesting. I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually watched the pro bowl.

  40. Two good options:

    1. Turn it into a skills challenge


    2. Turn it into an award show (like ESPYs) with the winners being kept a secret until being announced on stage.

    No one gets hurt either way

  41. Every pro sport’s all star games suck badly. If you really tune in and watch this junk, you are a loser.

  42. I don’t know if they can save this game anymore. It’s good that they have rolled back one of the stupid rules that Goodell instituted. They need to do that for EVERY rule he has made.

  43. Great! Now we won’t have to watch the talking obnoxious heads of Deon and Irving. What a joke that was. The game is a joke anyway but they made it totally unwatchable.

  44. Good it was the dumbest change that any major sports league has ever made to their all star game. Football is a sport where you need a rooting interest to really enjoy it. Even if it’s a very slight preference it still makes the game that much fun to watch if you have someone to root for/against. It’s one of the reasons why fantasy football and gambling on the games is so popular.

    Making it a fantasy draft ran by 2 guys who I have no incentive to root for, unless I was 1 of the few lucky groups of fans that 1 of the guys played for, and allowing them to separate teammates removed the only reason most people watch the game.

    Which is to hopefully see your teams players win the game, and if your team doesn’t have any players in the game, then at least root for your conference to win. Separating the rosters took that away. Essentially making the results of the game pointless. It went from being an actual football game to being a glorified player tape. Where all you do is basically watch 1 player every play. Its like watching draft tape. Something that everybody who does that knows isnt very entertaining.

    So I’m glad that they might change it back. If they do I’ll actually have a reason to watch the game again.

  45. Here’s a solution for the ProBowl:

    1) Continue to nominate pro players to the ProBowl
    2) Named pro players nominate their favorite college senior who plays their same position
    3) nominated college seniors play said position for the conference their nominating pro plays in

    Opportunity to showcase some of the upcoming players, makes it more exciting and interesting, gives those seniors a feel for pro level ball

  46. …and if they did Battle of the NFL Stars , as I suggested earlier, it would be the perfect lading spot for Chris Berman, once ESPN completes its putsch against him and other longstanding employees there…

  47. I don’t even remember the last time I watched a Pro-Bowl game. Has to be at least a decade ago.

    The QB and other competitions, those were cool.

  48. angryqtip says:
    Jun 1, 2016 11:31 AM

    Ha! Some of you may have to google this, but…I predict a return to the 1973-1994 ” Superstars TV show ” format. A non contact athletic competition that the NFL can sell to advertisers to replace the 2 hour time slot.

    I didn’t say I liked it. Just thinking like an owner wanting to make money.

    That was actually my thought as well. The Superstars was great when the NFL teams were in it. Add the awards show to it, keep it in Hawaii so the players want to show up, and it should turn into a real competition. The guys that are hurt can sit out the events they can’t do, but do the stuff that won’t hurt them. And nobody needs a helmet that way, so kids and women can get a real look at their favorites. People might even buy tickets to it.

    At this point, it’s become a game for kids and gamblers anyway, so do something different. Can’t hurt.

  49. I didn’t much care for the new format, but then I saw Bobby Wagner tackle Richard Sherman and get up in his grill after doing it, that was fun to watch.

  50. Afc vs NFc dodge ball game. Love to see Brady bean cam newton in his sulking face.

  51. Two games from the past ,never to be seen I’m sure, because of injury concerns, is the College All Stars against the NFL champs,and the AFC loser against the NFC loser. Just a thought, better than the terrible All Star format.

  52. “the land of Sea World and Disney and putt-putt golfing.”?
    Damn, sounds like some one needs to get away from the tourist district.

    That’s like judging the NYC sports fan base on the gaiety of Broadway, bad pizza and the smell of urine in the streets.

    There’s more to each city than just a simple profiling.
    18 degree weather in Minnesota/Green Bay/Buffalo/Boston etc or
    72 degree weather with a season ending trip to the beach with the family each player hasn’t concentrated on during the season?

    Maybe a cruise to the Bahamas afterwards?
    Yup, bad idea that players won’t want to be involved with.

  53. Regardless of format, the ProBowl is a clown show that I have not watched in 20 years despite my intense interest in the NFL. Knock your selves out. Jesus, the NFL is like a great white shark when it comes to making money. They just don’t stop!

  54. What needs to happen:

    1) You need to play at full speed with the full rule set.
    2) You need the SuperBowl players to play in it
    3) You need the outcome of the game to mean more than being voted to it

    Given those conditions, it’s just not feasible.

  55. I feel the Pro Bowl should be moved to after the Super Bowl to ensure that SB players selected can participate. Perhaps it should be moved closer to the free agency period. That way people won’t have excuses for injury and what not since it was weeks after the season is over. That may soften the blow of having to go without football for several months.

  56. Make it a skills competition like everyone wants BUT have each year a different city host. With nfl wanting more games overseas i rather see the pro bowl overseas then lose a home game to “host” a game in london.

  57. Here is my idea. Have the NFL announce All Star teams for both conferences at the end of the year at a designated Pro Bowl weekend. This will bring the prestige back to the Pro Bowl designation. Have your award ceremony and a meet and greet with the fans at your chosen location. The game itself could be separate. Have players from both conferences volunteer to participate in an incentive based AFC vs NFC game. If you make it worth their while players will participate, but they are not going to kill themselves for peanuts. You have the money so spend it.

  58. “I imagine that the “greedy owners” will twirl their mustaches while they tie the players girlfriends to the railroad tracks, all the while cackling to themselves and rubbing their hands together.”

    Now that actually sounds like something that I would watch!

  59. Skills competition? Just like the NBA dunk contest, the best players have nothing to prove, and can only get “shown up” by an endless line of of scrub backup QBs who have huge arms, but nothing else.

    An awards show? For football? Aren’t we already drowning in banal awards shows?! I want to watch guys running and hitting, you know–actual football? Not playing dress up and gawking at their phones.

    So many terrible suggestions…Just dump it.

  60. It used to be considered an honor to get elected to play in the Pro Bowl, the competition was fun to watch because you used to get to see the players up close having fun, and they usually actually really tried in them. Watching the QB’s
    compete head to head really gave a sense of how good they really were.
    But, but put it back AFTER the Super Bowl!
    The current concept really stinks and isn’t watchable, have it North vs South or NFC/AFC,
    but change it or dump it!

  61. Find a way to incentivize the players so that they’ll play their asses off, and that it effects the teams, and then that game will become interesting!

  62. A long weekend of player panels, goofy competitions (Madden tournaments, ping pong doubles, endzone dances etc), maybe a roast of the Super Bowl champs by the rest of the players, capped off by a game of flag football. It would spread 3 hours of unwatchable non-competitive football into 20+ hours of semi-watchable stuff involving fans’ favorite players, more up-close and personal. It would also make it a lot more fun to visit in person.

    I still wouldn’t watch, but I’d at least consider it.

    OH and it should be held in mid-summer, and in one of the many northern cities that have no chance of ever hosting a Super Bowl but deserve to get the NFL spotlight once in a while. Except for Green Bay, nobody wants to visit there. I’m pretty sure it’s actually half in Canada.

  63. I liked the AFC/NFC format after the Super Bowl.
    It capped the Season off plus gave the losing Super Bowl conference a little more incentive to
    get revenge. As a matter of fact the Super Bowl losing conference won a majority of the games.
    It was taken a bit more seriously. The Skills part was a ton of fun and those players really took it seriously back in the 70’s.
    I remember the QB’s making some insane throws the year Bernie Kosar won it, he was hitting bull’s-eyes on speeding Golf carts at 30 yards on rapid throws! But put it back AFTER the Super Bowl, it really went to crap after they moved it!

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