Pro Bowl: No Bowl?

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Ever been to Hawaii for the NFL’s annual Pro Bowl all star game? Me neither. It just doesn’t make sense: the game, like any other all-star game is more a popularity contest than a match-up of the game’s elite players. Names like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers dominate the headlines, while players and their families get to enjoy a nice week of festivities in Hawaii in the middle of Winter, culminating in a questionable display of football talent.

The NFL has imposed special rules for the game to make it safer and more fun for players. No blitzing allowed. Defenses must be in a 4-3 formation at all times. No coaches challenges. And no press coverage allowed. The game so much favors the defense that teams score nearly as many points as an NBA team. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he has seen enough.

After the 2012 Pro Bowl in which the AFC prevailed in a 59-41 nail-biter, Goodell responded with apprehension to the efforts of the players. Fans were heard booing in Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium, and many players were visibly stagnant and careless. Goodell has announced the NFL is considering removing the game altogether.

In reality, it’s probably not a terrible proposal: remove a game in a state 5 hours from the West Coast where no NFL teams play, and save the NFL an ounce of respect rather than disappoint fans with subpar football. Revenues from the game reveal that the game is losing popularity: attendance dropped 8% from 2011 to 2012, and total visitor spending dropped by $500,000 in 2012. Perhaps moving the Pro Bowl back to the United States, an experiment conducted for the 2010 game, is a feasible option. The 2010 game, held in Miami, FL, drew 70,000 fans to Sun Life Stadium, a large step up from 48,000 in Hawaii in 2011 and 2012. However, one saving grace of the game is its television contract, which currently lasts until 2022.

The bottom line is that the NFL must change the Pro Bowl to make it appealing to fans. If the current format of competition continues, fans will continue to stay at home, and profits will continue to drop, whether in Hawaii, Miami, or some other city. Unless players start to care more about the quality of football in the Pro Bowl, the game might be renamed to the No Bowl.

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One Response to Pro Bowl: No Bowl?

  1. jumpingpolarbear says:

    I gues you have to have it but it’s for sure not as good as the NBA All Star game!

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