Opinion: Should The NFL Change The Pro Bowl

Opinion posted February 14, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Evan Smith

Last weekend, the NFL held its annual Pro Bowl game. It was an udder embarrassment to the sport of Football. The on-field product was subpar, and the weekend was shrouded in controversy. While this may be the largest uproar following a Pro Bowl; this is far from a new problem.

The Pro Bowl has simply never truly mattered. The league has repeatedly tried to fix the problems with the game but has been doing so in a way that makes the issue worse. The NFL keeps trying to add gimmicks to the game.

This year, those included rules such as the “pick-and-choose” rule which resulted in no kickoffs or punts occurring during the game. In past years, they have included fantasy drafted teams and other rule changes. If the NFL wants the Pro Bowl to be taken seriously, they must make it a serious game.

There is an issue with football being such a physical game, that there is more risk for the players competing. This resulted in some of the two-hand tackles we saw in the game last Sunday. The only way to mitigate this for the players is to give them more incentive to play.

The game should have a flat salary given to players regardless of which team wins. To raise the stakes for the winning team, whichever conference wins should get a home-field advantage in the Super Bowl.

While it is a game played on a neutral field, this can still influence years like this where the Los Angeles Rams are playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium but must play as the road team. Having the first choice of uniforms is also a large factor among teams.

Currently, the Pro Bowl is played during the week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. While this seems like clever timing, it truly plays to the detriment of the game.

It removes the stars of two teams from the field and is played too close to the end of the season for many stars to want to prepare for the competition. While most sports hold their all-star games during the season, this is not an option for the NFL given their game schedules and player safety.

Instead, the game should be moved to the offseason. This will lead to more anticipation among fans that have been waiting for the start of the new season. For the players involved, they will have had their rest period and can use the Pro Bowl as a tune-up for the season to come.

By holding the game during a period without NFL competition, possibly even during draft week, the game will hold more intrigue.

Lastly, the Pro Bowl should return to Hawaii every year. While in Las Vegas, Saints running back Alvin Kamara was charged with a battery crime that could cost him games next season, as well as jail time.

This is one of the numerous issues the NFL has had with players in the Vegas region this season. Moving the game to Hawai’i gives the players a vacation to look forward to, while mitigating the risks involved in other grand locations.

The Pro Bowl is currently a meaningless game. If the NFL does not attempt to make the Pro Bowl watchable, they may be better off canceling the concept entirely.

Evan Smith is a first-year majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email ers5828@psu.edu