From time to time, the NFL develops angst and frustration over the inherently non-competitive Pro Bowl.
The game stinks. It should stink. It should not be full-contact football, with Sean Taylor blowing up Brian Moorman while the Bills punter ran a fake. (That said, it was awesome.) Players who are healthy in early February need to stay that way. They don’t need to undermine their shot at free agency by getting injured. They don’t need to be rehabbing injuries in the offseason.
But the game, even as two-hand touch in full pads, generates sufficient ratings to justify continuing it. The question becomes whether there’s an alternative that would do as well, or close to it.
Via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the league (whose owners are meeting in Atlanta) is “discussing the Pro Bowl and ways to improve it,” including the possibility of getting rid of it. That day could instead be used to “showcase the players in it.”
They can talk about it all they want. The Commissioner at one point huffed and puffed and threatened to blow the Pro Bowl’s house down. In recent years, the complaining has stopped. It stopped because it’s impossible to reconcile player health and safety with expecting them to beat the crap out of each other in an exhibition game.
If the league gets rid of the Pro Bowl game, it needs to replace it with something else that will be as profitable. Unless the league is willing to give up the revenue it generates in exchange for avoiding a day or two of people complaining about the Pro Bowl being the joke that it should be, because players should not be blocking and tackling and hitting that late in the season .
For more on the Pro Bowl, including some quotes from Brian Moorman about the hit he took from Sean Taylor and more, check out (you guessed it) Playmakers.