Don’t ever try to talk to me about improving the Pro Bowl. I’m Serious.
The Pro Bowl takes place this weekend and just like every year everyone will discuss how the Pro Bowl sucks and needs to be improved or done away with. Even the commissioner has fallen into this line of thinking saying that if “play doesn’t improve” he will consider scrapping it.
I used to be a Pro Bowl complainer but I’m not anymore. Now I take issue with the very thought of having players go to work as some time of end-of-season reward for a job well done. Playing football is not the privilege that football players and fans have been brainwashed to believe it is. It’s a job and a very dangerous one. The end of season reward shouldn’t involve a 17th or 18th game for them to get hurt playing.
Also, talking about improving the Pro Bowl is kinda like talking about how you can improve the television show Scandal or Love and Hip Hop Atl. The best thing you could do quality-wise is take it off of television completely. But from a purely entertainment standpoint people are tuning into both trash television staples. I don’t watch Love and Hip Hop for quality television it’s more like “omgggg look at this!” Sometimes I complain but mostly I enjoy it.
I don’t think people tune in to the Pro Bowl for the game. In the past, I’ve watched it because it’s the loosest we get to see football players behave. They’re having fun with their colleagues and friends and showing off their amazing speed and acrobatics. The NFL takes itself so seriously sometimes, Pro Bowl weekend is a relief.
In a way, it makes us feel more a part of the game than any other game during the season because there’s such a degree of camaraderie that really shines through since the pressure is low. Threatening them to play harder during the game is just going to make even more guys skip it even though they’d love to have the check, the trip, and a Pro Bowl on their resume.
Improving the Pro Bowl wouldn’t be that difficult. An hour flag football game or maybe even a baseball or basketball game with celebrities a la MTV’s old Rock and Jock, and some great interview/feature segments would be appealing to me and I’m sure many other fans. NFL could even partner with MTV to pull the whole thing off. They could even move it back to Miami where fans could participate even more.
But great ideas for improvement can only come to fruition if the NFL rids itself of the notion that an extra assignment at the end of a job well done is a reward for an employee. Then they can focus on creating an experience “with” the players that satisfies both the guys and the fans.