Prior to the draft on Thursday night was the news that the NFL Pro Bowl would be “suspended” as soon as 2012 due to embarrassing performances, sinking ratings over the past few years, and players not seemingly giving it there all to fans who want their money’s worth.
The Pro Bowl is one of those things that, growing up watching sports, was always the sprinkles on the cupcake that was the football season. You see all of the leagues best (And a few substitutions, which no one ever minds, especially if they are an underrated player on yoru favorite team) play on what we now view as fantasy football teams. Glorified scrimmages based on deep passes and no blitzing, the Pro Bowl was like a friendly across a league plagued with parody. It doesn’t need the ploys of the MLB, whose All Star game promises home field advantage to the representative of that league in the World Series. It doesn’t need the hype of skill competitions, like the NBA, or those competitions’ decline in popularity and relevance to get ratings. Despite ratings dropping, when the last one aired, the 2012 Pro Bowl was still the highest rated event of that weekend.
The last Pro Bowl could be January 27, 2013, one week before Super Bowl XLVII takes place in New Orleans. Since being moved to the week before the Super Bowl a few years ago, the Pro Bowl has appeared to become more of a burden than an accomplishment to those invited. Now that the game is one week before the Super Bowl, elected All-Pros usually opt out; more than ever, players opt out to spare themselves from being injured. What’s even worse to fans and fellow players alike is that even if those All Stars come to the game, they are accused of, as Aaron Rodgers did last year, of “embarrassing themselves”. The score of last year’s game was AFC 59-NFC 41. Anyone who watched that game as a fan agreed with the fans in Honolulu as they booed the half-heartedness of the game. The league, as it has been reported, is saying the Pro Bowl may be “DOA (dead on arrival) as the discussions get to discussing the future. Per the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the league must have conversations with the union (NFLPA) on all things Pro Bowl related, but league can “unilaterally suspend the game” without the NFLPA’s full consent.
Since Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke of getting rid of the game during and after the Super Bowl in different media outlets, the discussion has been more of why cancel it and more of this is why you should rid the most popular league in sport’s only opportunity to celebrate their best in an athletic fashion. So far, all we have is speculation, but the likelihood is for no Pro Bowl beyond 2013.
Information and photos used in this article from ESPN, USA Today, The Associated Press, Getty Images and Google Images.