Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How Do We Make The Pro Bowl Better?

Once again we were shown an atrocity of a game in this years Pro Bowl.  Don't get me wrong, it was better than last years contest, but there was no going down from that performance.  The NFL needs to fix this.  Roger Goodell has been on record saying if this year's Pro Bowl wasn't better then he was just scrapping the whole idea.  Well he said that they improved so the football all-star game is here....for now.  There must be something better we can do, right?

Here is the problem, the Pro Bowl gets ratings.  At its highest mark there were 12.1 million households watching the game.  People are tuning into the game no matter what is on the TV.  It is football, and that ends up being the end all be all.  So is that enough?  Should the NFL be happy with putting out an inferior product just because people are watching?  Should we stop watching and demand a better product from the NFL?  The thing that should happen is the NFL should bring change to the game.  The NFL has enough bad publicity with PEDs, concussions and their affects, a watered down game, people pulling their children from playing, etc, they don't need people to say they are putting an inferior product out on the field. 

The million dollar question is, how do you fix this problem?  What more can you do besides have a football game?  What kind of motivation would a player have for playing an essentially "free" game?  There is plenty you can do.

There are two problems with the game, the motivation of the players and the excitement of the play.  Take the former, why would a player put his career on the line and risk injury by going full speed for a game that means nothing?  Well we have to make it mean something.  I don't think we should be as drastic as the MLB All Star game has become and make something that is actually worth something like home field advantage, but we can really do some good.  What if every player picked a charity and for each stat they get a fixed amount of money for said stat.  A player's charity would get $250 per tackle, $1,000 per sack, $5 per yard passing and $10 for each yard rushing and receiving.  A touchdown would warrant $5,000 for the receiver/rusher and $2,500 for the passer.  You go on from there and make every stat worth a dollar amount and the players can pick their own charities.  It isn't like the NFL can't afford it.  It would be for a great cause and it would be extra fun for the fans to see who is tallying the most money for their favorite charity.  You can even add offensive linemen with pancake blocks being worth $250.  Would you not watch the Charity Bowl simply just to see what player was going to pick some crazy charity to play for?  This is a way that everyone can win.  The players have the motivation to show they are willing to play for those in need.

Secondly we need a skills competition the night before.  Every sport does something of this ilk, whether its the home run derby, the skills challenge or the dunk contest/3 point contest.  The NFL could put together a QB challenge like they had back in the day.  Would Brady and Manning not be fighting to show they are better than the other right now with how competitive they are with each other?  Then you could put together some kind of obstacle course for the running backs.  Imagine AP talking smack about how he is better and faster than the rest with a reconstructed knee.  Receivers can pick the quarterback they play with during their drills.  Imagine the drama that is caused when AJ Green picks Aaron Rodgers over Andy Dalton.  They can have pit drills for the linemen and one on ones for the corner backs.  This is a no brainer in my mind.  How does the most popular sport in the country not have a challenge to show who the most talented really are?  Too bad this wasn't here the past couple years so Chad Johnson could try to prove all the smack he was talking around the league.

Lastly, the teams should not be stuck to AFC and NFC.  Do it like the NHL and do an all out fantasy draft.  Have two captains pick the entire teams and see what an NFL player would do with their all star team.  The strategy is really fun to watch and seeing how they pick their team is just as fun as the game.  Remember how your favorite part of fantasy football is the draft?  This is that kind of fun in real life.

Someone call Goodell and tell him this sure fire way to fix the NFL Pro Bowl.  I would watch this every year.  This would give the people who tune in to football the week before the Super Bowl a feeling of real satisfaction.  He can have the idea, I just want to have something watchable instead of this defenseless game they call football.  The Pro Bowl now is a seven on seven drill.  Let's bring it back to the football we all know and love. 

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