NFL Pro Bowl: How to Make the Game Relevant
The NFL Pro Bowl is typically an ugly affair. It's got players who really only want to be in Hawaii, it takes place after the Super Bowl when the NFL season has lost all relevance and most of the big name players bow out. It doesn't have the same allure as the All-Star games in the other major sports.
According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the 2013 Pro Bowl will likely be suspended for the aforementioned reasons. It's possible that the Pro Bowl in general will be suspended, which probably won't be met with much resistance, from either those within the sports or fans.
What if there were a way though to negate all three of those major reasons and make it relevant again?
There is. Play 30 minutes of Pro Bowl football at halftime of the Super Bowl.
Obviously, this will never happen. It's a pipe dream for sure, because the NFL will lose the different demographic the halftime show attracts.
The halftime show was more or less marching bands though up until 1991, when New Kids on the Block performed and set a precedent. That precedent being the NFL saw they could make even more money if they brought in popular music acts to perform.
This has led to halftime shows that are mostly forgettable (save Janet Jackson's in 2004). Did you know that the halftime show in 2001 actually included a pre-recorded intro skit with Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Aerosmith and 'N Sync? Exactly.
Instead of the NFL giving Super Bowl viewers acts that for the most part are only relevant for their five minutes of fame in the halftime show, give them more football. A Super Bowl Halftime Pro Bowl.
Halftime during regular season games is 12 minutes. Halftime during the Super Bowl is a whopping 31 minutes. The NFL should extend that to 40 minutes and trot out the two Pro Bowl sides to play two, 15-minute quarters.
Imagine that. On the night of quite possibly the most watched sporting event in the world, you get an additional 30 minutes of football. A lot of the players will be in town anyway, because it's the Super Bowl and, honestly, attending the game may be the closest some of them ever get.
Making it competitive will be the fact that quite possibly their largest audience ever will be watching. In the Pro Bowl, players can more or less skate by.
What if they're playing at halftime before the end of the game that ends the entire NFL season? Millions are watching. They won't skate by based on that.
Once the 30 minutes are up, the two Super Bowl teams take the field and finish the game.
It's definitely not more of a distraction than the halftime show, plus it does nothing to the field more than just playing does. That is, grounds crews don't have to rush in a stage and thousands of glow sticks so the aerial camera shots look edgy.
You could argue that there could be a major injury in the Halftime Pro Bowl that delays the start of the second half, which is true. A performer could also fall of the stage and break their neck, which is also a serious injury.
There's no incentive for the players to enjoy playing the Pro Bowl (other than Hawaii and contract bonuses), which means there's no incentive for viewers to tune in. If they play a condensed version of the game during the NFL's biggest game of the year, everyone's a winner.
There are probably a ton of other negatives to this idea and it most definitely won't happen. The idea though of 90 minutes of football on Super Bowl Sunday is just too tantalizing.
Of course, without Madonna, Cee Lo Green, LMFAO, MIA, Nicki Minaj and Cirque du Soleil, who's going to watch the Super Bowl anyway? Right?
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