Last night’s NFL Pro Bowl was probably one of the least entertaining few hours watching football I’ve ever experienced. The effort was horrendous, even for a meaningless game. That’s not speaking to the lopsided score, just the general effort (or lack thereof) given by all of the players involved. Of course, one could say, “Why should they? What’s the point in a meaningless game when someone could get hurt?” That is a valid point, but then for that matter, why even have a Pro Bowl? So a few millionaires can make a few extra thousand dollars? It’s time to revamp the Pro Bowl to make it something that is actually watchable. I have a few surefire ways to make that happen.
1. Move the Pro Bowl back to its original time after the Super Bowl.
To call this game a collection of the “best of the best” quite frankly is not accurate. Many pull out due to injuries from the season, but that is understandable and unavoidable. The fact that some of the best players from the two best teams in the NFL- the participants in the Super Bowl- are left out really waters down the talent level of the game. Having the Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl would allow the participants to still play in the Pro Bowl, and no longer make it the game that nobody wants to play in.
2. Keep the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
Hawaii is a neutral and beautiful location for the game. It makes sense, and also keeps to the tradition, to keep it there.
3. Add a gimmick factor.
Baseball has a Home Run Derby before the All-Star game to add a gimmick factor to the weekend’s festivities, as well as a “golden ball” that’s worth an extra prize for the fans at the end of a hitter’s turn. The Pro Bowl needs some kind of gimmick, though it would have to be in-game. I would add a “golden football” to the game. On a randomly selected drive, the offense would get the golden ball. Any points that are scored on the drive that the golden ball is used on get doubled, so a TD and an extra point would now be worth 14, or a TD and a two-point conversion would be worth 16 points. A field goal would be worth 6 points. You get the idea. If the defense gets a turnover and returns it for a TD, they would get the doubled points. If the defense makes a stop, their offense would get to start at the opponent’s 40-yard line. What would be a big turnaround would be if the defense makes a stop and then the offense gets the “golden football” on the opponent’s 40.
4. Make it count for something.
If the Pro Bowl actually meant something, perhaps we would see more effort from the players. My proposal would be that the winning conference’s teams get an extra home game during the inter-league games during the following regular season. For example, the Patriots played the NFC North this past season. Had the AFC won the previous Pro Bowl under my scenario, the Pats, instead of hosting two NFC North teams and visiting two NFC North teams, would host three NFC North teams and visit only one. This is something that would be meaningful to every player that plays and every owner as well. The fans of every team would also have a vested interest, because they would either get to attend an extra home game or lose a home game (season ticket prices would likely be adjusted accordingly).
These are only a few suggestions, and while you may think they are terrible, something clearly needs to be done. If you have other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the Comments section.