With the Pro Bowl just under a week away, it is time to look forward to perhaps the worst All-Star game in all of sports. Every year, the ratings for this game go down and down, leaving Roger Goodell looking for reasons as to “Why?” Lucky for him, this irrelevant blogger from Pennsylvania is going to lay down step by step instructions on how to turn this game into a successful feature of the best talent the league has to offer.
First off, make it so the players actually want to play. Make the compensation actually worthwhile where these athletes, worth millions upon millions of dollars, would actually want to play. Make the game MEAN something. The MLB all star game used to determine home-field in the World Series, maybe the team that wins the Pro Bowl can get home field advantage in the Super Bowl the following season (assuming they stick to AFC vs. NFC)? People get paid millions to make this game better, lets see something.
Second, there needs to be contact. The NFL gets nothing but flack for how soft the league is becoming, the Pro Bowl is even softer. You can’t even hit the QB, rush the kicker, or even play press coverage. It is very evident just by watching the game that no one wants to be there, they are just using the weekend as a free vacation. It is just sad to watch.
I like what the league had going with having all-time greats pick the rosters as captains but I think they went about it the wrong way. The NHL has perhaps the best all star weekend, and most of the attention and positive ratings stem from the selection process. The players are encouraged to be funny and outspoken, how can the NFL do that if the players are not allowed to be outspoken. Who would not love to see a Terrell Owens vs. Chad Ochocinco, or even an Andre Johnson vs. Cortland Finnegan Pro Bowl? I get it, Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin were great players, but that is not what the fans want to see. T.O and Chad Ochocinco are great friends, very outspoken and very funny and go together like PB&J. As most know, Andre Johnson beat the crap out of Cortland Finnegan, which would make for a very intriguing and entertaining fantasy draft. The choices for great captains are endless.
A step in the right direction this time around will be the return of the skills competition. The NHL and NBA have tremendous success with their skills competitions. The MLB also does awesome with its home run derby all-star weekend. If the ratings drop for the third consecutive year, the NFL will either have to make drastic changes or even disband the entire Pro Bowl altogether. The NFL all-star game has potential, lets see if it will ever reach it.