The NFL Pro Bowl has been awful for years, and apparently even Roger Goodell is realizing that putting it together hurts the brand more than anything else. Because football is such a violent, contact-based sport – the general notion that players would give anything even remotely resembling 100 percent during a meaningless exhibition is ludicrous.
And really, in this day and age of guys’ careers getting shorter and shorter with each passing year, you can hardly blame them for not wanting to risk injury when it’s totally unnecessary.
According to ESPN, the reason that a date for next year’s Pro Bowl hasn’t been announced yet is because the league is seriously looking into suspending it. While the timing of this report is interesting, the message itself is hardly surprising – everyone has sort of known that the Pro Bowl was on its last legs for years. It was just a matter of putting it out of its misery, really.
The same ESPN report notes that even if the Pro Bowl is shelved, the league would probably keep the balloting process in place so that it could identify who the best players of the year were. That way guys with Pro Bowl clauses in their contracts could still get paid for exceptionally great performances over a given season.
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All things considered, this is a pretty respectable decision by the powers that be. The Pro Bowl, despite being horrible in every possible way, still pulls in relatively strong ratings. If this were purely a dollars and cents decision, Goodell could probably keep the game around for a few more years and reap pretty legitimate profits off it. Clearly preserving the general positivity associated with the NFL brand is more important to him, though. That’s something that deserves commendation.