It's the tradition at the conclusion of each NFL season.
No, it's not just the Pro Bowl. It's the annual criticism of the Pro Bowl.
Each year, football's chosen All-Stars (most of them, at least) participate in the exhibition game that is certainly uninspiring. It could certainly use some spice.
Here now are 10 ways to make the Pro Bowl more appealing for this year's as well as for future editions.
For the 2011 edition of the Pro Bowl, the winning players received $45,000, while the losing participants were granted $22,500.
The disparity between the victors and the vanquished is far too small.
Make it $150,000 and $10,000 for each side, respectively. If you want to incite even further, make it winner-take-all.
This was done once before with a fair amount of success.
Why can't it be played a different site, just as the other three major sports do it? The alternation in stadiums hosting the Pro Bowl would increase interest in each city it goes to.
Furthermore, attendance would go up significantly. As can be seen simply by watching the games in Hawaii, Aloha Stadium is far from standing room only.
If you want more fans to watch, then it only make sense for them to be solely responsible for who participates in the game.
The votes of the players and coaches would be taken away due to this, but they're so wrapped up in their own team during the regular season that there's not time to pay attention to the rest of the league.
By letting the viewing public have the only say, it gives us greater reason to be interested.
The league's two conferences face each other all season long, so there's no real reason to see them go at it again at the end.
Instead, use different combinations of the two sides: East vs. West, high draft picks vs. low draft picks, players from major conferences vs. players from small conferences, etc.
Or how about doing it like kids do when they play in the backyard?
That way, of course, would at least make sure that players aren't entirely without power.
Two captains (likely the starting QBs) would go back and forth "drafting" their roster from the players the fans voted to see play.
The NHL has done this to rave reviews, so it's about time the NFL gave it a shot.
In the arcade video games, you could rack up additional points for certain shots.
For real life, you can accumulate more points based on the length of a touchdown play.
When it comes to kickers, the points would be calculated as they are done in your average fantasy football league. A boot from 40 to 49 yards would be worth four points, while a field goal from anything over 50 would count for five.
It would be fitting to see the future stars of the NFL play in the same weekend at the same venue as the current stars.
The college seniors would be up close with what it's like to play in the NFL. What's more, it would give pro scouts easy access to see these prospects.
If you wanted to get even more bold, simply have the pros and college players line up against one another in an exhibition.
The players in the game don't try to tackle anyway, so this wouldn't be that much of a stretch.
Those that don't participate are backing out for fear that they'll get hurt due to the constant contact that football brings out. They may not say that publicly, but it has to be a primary reason.
If that's so, why not just make this a typical street yard game. The fans aren't watching a Pro Bowl for bruising hits or run-stuffing lineman. They'd much rather see highlights from the offensive side of the ball.
We wouldn't be that upset if the 2012 Pro Bowl should get pushed back a few months.
More specifically, it would be ideal for the game to take place in August (prior to the preseason).
Having the annual All-Star tilt happen, say, on Hall of Fame Weekend would get fans excited for what's to come in the regular season (not that it would take much to do that).
Critics would say (justifiably) that injuries are always possible and could be more devastating if they happened in August. But if you implemented the previous idea, the likelihood of ailments would decrease and the flexibility of the game's date would increase.
Where the NBA, NHL and MLB succeed in their All-Star games is what occurs the day before the contest.
The NFL has a skills competition, but they're not highly publicized and have little sizzle. Honestly, I have no idea when it is and what they do in it.
In order to make this palatable, it should be held in prime time the night prior to the Pro Bowl. The contests would include a kicking accuracy/length event, quarterback accuracy, fastest man race, an obstacle course and a touchdown dance-off.