NFL Pro Bowl: Why the Pro Bowl Should Not Be Eliminated

Brad BerryCorrespondent IJune 12, 2012

HONOLULU, HI - JANUARY 29:  Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers carriers the ball against Charles Tillman #33 of the Chicago Bears during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 29, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

The Pro Bowl is typically derided by the media and the sports watching public as the worst All-Star game in all of North America. Many dismiss the game as simply a paid vacation for NFL players and families to Hawaii.

On a certain level, that sentiment is very true, but one of the primary fixes I have read is to completely scrap the game and have no All-Star game. To suggest simply scrapping the game is a poor solution, as it doesn't require the "haters" to come up with a fix for the problem.

For those who want to scrap the game, I have one simple question: Why do you watch the game?

Whether anybody wants to admit it, the Pro Bowl is still a football game to watch. Even in a down year, the game still had a 7.9 rating (per USA Today).

This may sound anemic by NFL standards, but it still has better ratings than the MLB All-Star game (which drew a 6.9 Nielsen rating, per USA Today) and the NBA All-Star game (which drew a Nielsen rating of 5.4, per Sports Business Daily).

Since more people watch the Pro Bowl than the other, more critically acclaimed All-Star games, then why is there such a rush to get rid of it because of a perception that nobody cares about the Pro Bowl?

One possible explanation for the criticism of the Pro Bowl is that it is simply a game without contests surrounding it, like baseball's Home Run Derby or the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest (which was stolen from the ABA).

However, I hope people are more reasonable than to cite this as a serious problem with the Pro Bowl. Who honestly wants to watch those old quarterback challenges? Not me. I could go without Boomer Esiason using his time announcing that damned contest simply meant to inflate his already over-inflated ego.

If the problem lies in the game being played in Hawaii, as opposed to being in the continental United States, that also is a pointless critique because the main purpose of the game is to reward the players who were invited to play after a long and grueling season.

It is an opportunity to go on a family vacation for these players, who already have such a limited amount of time to be with their wife and kids. The NFL is not exactly starved for attention like the NBA and the MLB are. 

The purpose of the Pro Bowl is a reward for players and their families. The Pro Bowl is simply an exhibition game, nothing more, nothing less. And that is as it should be. Given that the game rates higher than the other major All-Star games, the NFL has absolutely no incentive to change or scrap the game.

There is only one piece of advice that I can offer for those who despise the Pro Bowl: Don't watch.