NFL Pondering Future Of The Pro Bowl — A Problem With No Good Solution

We all love football.

Right?

RIGHT??

The more the merrier, I always say. We love football when it begins with July training camps. We love preseason football, at least for one quarter each game, because it fills an empty space from the football-less months after the season. And we definitely love the regular season, the college season, the NFL playoffs, bowl games and national title playoff gmess or whatever they’re calling them now.

We even are coming to appreciate the USFL in the spring (On OutKick parent company FOX networks, by the way).

But amid all this football adoration we all are coming to hate the Pro Bowl.

And that’s weird because the idea of a football game in which the best of the best go against each other the week between the NFL conference championship games and the Super Bowl is a good one in the abstract.

The problem is the Pro Bowl lately, and definitely this past year, has blasphemed the good name of football.

Forget the fact many of the players selected choose not to play because of a (wink) injury (wink). The game recently has included no real hitting. No real trying. No real much of anything that resembles a competitive football game.

And, I get it, nobody wants to get hurt so everyone has agreed to go one-quarter speed.

But the resulting game last February was an abomination. It devolved into what is clearly the worst of the major sports all star games.

So NFL owners meeting in Atlanta this week are discussing what to do with the game — including, per the NFL Network, eliminating the game ltogether.

Personally, I’m fine getting rid of the thing.

But NFL owners want to come up with something that will nonetheless reward the game’s best players with a distinction of being better than their peers and also make money from advertisers during that Sunday time slot — not to mention during its Pro Bowl show in December.

Because making money is what the NFL does better than anything and since you’ve have been watching that terrible game regardless of how unwatchable it’s become it makes money for the league.

So what to do?

Flag football?

No football but some other competition like sprint races or tug of war games?

Cookoffs?

Softball?

None of this is really a solution. And the league’s goal is to have a solution on the issue before the preseason begins.

And that’s the problem because no amount of tweaking or gimmickery is going to replace real football played with a relatively high effort. But again, along with higher effort comes higher speeds, harder hits, tougher blocking.

And injuries, which no one wants.

So, um, forgive the thought dear NFL makers of money. But it’s probably a good time to put the Pro Bowl to bed.

Permanently.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

5 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. I’ve always thought they should can the game
    itself and just make it a big awards ceremony where they announce who made the pro bowl, then the all pro team, and the MVP as grand finale. We don’t need a game.

  2. When I was a wee lad, I actually cared who won the game. Being a Browns fan, I always pulled for the AFC. But now, I can’t remember how many decades it’s been since I’ve even seen one play.

Leave a Reply

to comment on this post. Not a VIP? Signup Here