The 2016 Pro Bowl will take place on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, and it will be televised live on ESPN. From 1970-2012 the Pro Bowl featured the AFC team vs the NFC Team. For the past two seasons there have been captains, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders for the 2013 season and Michael Irvin and Chris Carter for the 2014 season. This season’s game will be Team Rice vs Team Irvin.
Having former players choose teams for the Pro Bowl adds a nice change of pace to an otherwise really boring All-Star event, but it’s not nearly enough. Both the MLB and NBA All-Star games, and the festivities around said games, are far superior to anything the NFL provides, even though football is the most popular sport in this country. I love football, but I hardly ever view all, or any, of the Pro Bowl because it is pretty unwatchable for the most part, and the game doesn’t mean anything. But don’t worry, I am prepared to offer a simple solution.
HERE’S HOW TO FIX THE NFL PRO BOWL
Each season the Pro Bowl largely features the best players in the NFL that year, except those players whose teams made it to the Super Bowl. But the product on the field is far below the talents of said players selected to participate. This is because football is an inherently dangerous sport and players do not want to get hurt, possibly seriously, in an exhibition game. I can’t totally blame them, but what this leads to is some of the best football players going at barely half speed. There is almost no pass rush, or really defense of any kind. The game essentially always becomes one that falls somewhere between true tackle football and flag football. So here’s the solution I am prepared to offer.
Just make the Pro Bowl an actual flag football game. Let former players, like Rice and Irvin this season, be captains and choose up sides. I think that part is actually intriguing, but then have the two teams compete in a flag football game. I think that type of game could wind up being wildly entertaining and it would seriously reduce the chance of players suffering an injury.
My solution would allow defensive line players to truly rush the opposing quarterback and defensive backs to go all out in their coverage of receivers. It might even provide more opportunities for some spectacular catches since both the quarterbacks and receivers wouldn’t have to worry about taking on any vicious hits in an exhibition game, and players would be able to swear shorts and t-shirts, with no pads, while playing.
There’s certainly no perfect way to handle a football All-Star game, and in my solution, the Pro Bowl still wouldn’t mean anything. But making it a flag football game could make the game far more entertaining.