May 9, 2012

The Big Idea: 5 Ways the National Football League Could Fix the Pro Bowl

By - Brian Harrington

As part of our "Big Idea" series, it's time to take a look at ways the National Football League could improve its annual Pro Bowl game.

Photo from:
In the days leading up to the draft, word came out that the league was looking into ways to improve the fiasco that has become the Pro Bowl.

I think people have somewhat jumped the gun on canceling the game, since they simply mentioned that killing it was a possible option.

Let's face it, the NFL is a money churning juggernaut, so they aren't going to just throw a winning ticket away.

The way I see it, this is more of an opportunity to fix what is wrong with the game rather than do away with it completely.

Here are some of my ideas:

1. Make it Mandatory to Play - Yes, I know, in light of all the concussion talk that the NFLPA would jump on this like a Kardashian at a players meeting, but the fans want to see the actual first team players picked to PLAY in the game. Injuries are one thing, just not wanting to participate is another (I'm looking at you Tom Brady). Oh, and if you DON'T play for a reason other than injury, you should lose that Pro Bowl stat. For example, If you're a 9-time Pro Bowler, but you've only played in two of the games, you're just a TWO time Pro Bowler now.

2. Add a Skills Competition - Anyone else remember sitting up late at night watching the NFL skills competitions on "The Deuce"? I thought they were great. I mean, the NBA has its 3-point and dunk contests, and the NHL has its skills challenge, so the NFL could incorporate this quite easily.

3. Move it Around - Have it in a different city every year, especially cities like Nashville, Chicago, Green Bay, i.e. cities that are less likely to get Super Bowl bids. Give something back to fans that support the league.

4. Add a Rookie Game - Again, something the players union would probably gripe about, but sometimes adding more is better. You have more and more rookies playing in the Pro Bowl now, why not just add a rookie game, much like the NBA, to showcase the up-and-coming class.

5. Make Some Sort of Incentive Program - Much like baseball has the incentive of home field advantage for its All-Star Game, make the game mean something. I'm not sure exactly what you could pinpoint for this, but if players are willing to injure other players for money, I'm sure they would play an extra game for it.

In my opinion, doing any of these things would make the game way more appealing.

Share your thoughts.


  1. All these make sense to me with the exception of the adding a rookie game idea. I don't see the league doing that. The other ones would make the game more interesting for sure.

  2. They probably need to just get rid of it. I don't see the league making it mandatory to play in or adding a rookie game. They should just replace it with a skills challenge weekend type of event. That would be pretty cool.

  3. #2 gets my vote. They should just drop the game altogether and turn it into a skills competition weekend.

  4. The players should just take more pride in being in the game in the first place. Back in the 80s and 90s the games were actually competitive and hard fought, which made them worth watching.