The Pro Bowl

At the end of every season of the NFL, players meet up in a gargantuan battle to prove themselves as the top players in the league. This year is even more special. Jerry Rice & Deion Sanders have taken it in turns to pick players in an epic chess match that will be remembered for years to…ok it’s not going to be like that. Let’s face it. It’s a money making opportunity for a billion dollar business. So let’s take a look at the Pro-bowl and what it actually is that we hate about it but can’t stop ourselves from watching.

If you ask 90% of NFL fans about their view on the Pro Bowl, I can guarantee they will have more than a few disparaging words to say about it. Yet it is still the most watched all-star game above with 12.3 m viewers in the last game, beating the acclaimed NBA and NHL all-star games. So if we all have this opinion why do we have to keep watching something that is generally nothing close to a competitive game, where no one tackles and consists mainly of gadget plays.

Well for me the NFL is an addiction. When you get to this stage in the season, you’re left with 2 games. The Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl. After that we have to wait 8 months to watch any football. So I generally find myself watching just to see some of the names that I have come to know and love through the season. That being said this season might be the first time I give it a miss.

So what’s different? Well knowing that figures are slowly sinking back to the low that they reached in 2008, the NFL in its infinite wisdom has decided to change the system. Now instead of having a basic NFC vs. AFC, they’ve decided to tap into the love of all things fantasy and treated it like a fantasy football draft. The 2 teams have been picked by Hall of Famers, Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice and are currently training with their team captains. But what difference will this make to the game?

None. Absolutely no difference what so ever. The game will be not remotely close to competitive display and will have people watching none the less, simply because of the spectacle of the new system, which will have zero effect on the game. So without changing a single thing about the game they’ve managed to create a load of new interest in a game that has become pretty tired.

But it’s not all bad. There is no denying it is a very nice way of rewarding the best players in the NFL. To the players it is a nice way of hanging out with friends on a family holiday. Aside from the actual game it is surrounded by a sense of fun that the NFL is often lacking as every team is desperate to grab a win in a sport where they only play 16 games compared to the ridiculous amount played in pretty much every other American sport. All of this actually makes me think it would be a shame if they got rid of it. But what can be done to preserve it?

Well maybe they need to accept that this will never be a competitive game and go for a more fun affair. With the NBA all-star game it is less about the game, but more about the Dunk Competition. That’s what people watch it for, to see Blake Griffin do something amazingly impressive. Then when you look at what the Dude Perfect guys do on YouTube and get millions upon millions of views, why not change it into a set of challenges. Why not set up a QB trick shot competition? Or a bench press competition? It’s what they used to do, but changed to try and get the ratings up. Now however might be the perfect time to bring it back as players get more concerned about getting hurt in tackles. Why not take the game away. Or even a game of basketball. Just a chance of seeing our favourite players do something remotely competitive is I think what everyone wants.

So will I watch the Pro Bowl? Well I’ve watched it the last few years and have been massively disappointed. As a UK fan I don’t think it’s worth me staying up till 4 in the morning to watch a game that means nothing to anyone. I might however watch it on repeat, just to see some of the trick plays. Anyway what about you guys? What do you think of possibly the most pointless game of the season?