The NFL needs to rethink the Pro Bowl

Michael Guido, Managing & Sports Editor

The NFL’s Pro Bowl has traditionally been an intriguing event on the league’s yearly calendar.

Either in late January or early February, the league’s very best gather to compete in a contest pitting the elite representatives of the AFC and NFC.

The best on both sides of the ball gather for a contest combining the best who aren’t preparing for the Super Bowl, and it has been a way to generate excitement and interest in the leadup to the big game.

However, many fans and commentators alike note that this year’s Pro Bowl was very different from Pro Bowls of years past.

In the past, the games would feature immaculate plays, hard-hitting tackles and general excitement from players. The image that comes to mind for many was the devastating hit then Washington safety Sean Taylor delivered against Buffalo punter Brian Moorman in the 2007 Pro Bowl.

However, this year’s game was the complete antithesis to that effort.

This year featured two-handed touch football, sloppy and lazy play, the Diggs brothers playing opposite positions and covering each other, New England quarterback Mac Jones performing “The Griddy,” and a general facile display that left fans and former players disappointed and angry.

While the recent developments in player health and safety can explain a desire on the part of the players to have a clean match for an otherwise meaningless game, many felt the laissez-faire effort made for poor television and a poor fan experience.

For the players, a competitive and physical Pro Bowl is a way for players to continue playing the spor at a high level, while also showcasing their talents if the players happen to be heading into free agency or a contract year.

In terms of ratings, it benefits the league too to ensure fans tune in to generate more revenue and interest in the sport, a common sense business practice.

Lastly, it serves as a high-end celebration of the league’s talent before the big game.

If the NFL wants to continue using the Pro Bowl as a setup to the excitement generated around Super Bowl week, then steps need to be taken to ensure that the Pro Bowl isn’t a glorified game of touch football.


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