While this year’s NFL Pro Bowl was probably the best played in years, it was still unable to hold the attention of many football fans who love watching their favorite players. The list of who’s who on the field showed a resounding resemblance of what an All-Star game is supposed to be, but in this case the bad outweighs the good.
1. Lackluster Play
Yes, this is an All-Star game. Yes, these guys just spent months running, tackling and sacking each other. No, no one wants to get hurt, but can we see a little more effort in the play action department on the field? Some will argue that these guys are the best of the best and this game can be looked at as friendly game of pick-up, but if that's the case, what is the purpose? A free trip to Hawaii or a good showing for your fans?
2. Injury Issues
One of the hot topics that will continue with the NFL is player injuries, especially concussions. The most important thing when playing this game is to stay healthy. Players, coaches and the league are not willing to take unnecessary chances when it comes to player health, especially when the microscope is revealing everything. Even with the best intentions things can go wrong.
3. Ratings Desert
According to the USA Today, the game's overnight TV ratings fell 8.1 percent from last year. On the flip side it was better than the 2012 MLB World Series, but with the NFL being America’s popular pastime, that’s unacceptable for any football game. Games that were played in prime time by some of the worst or even unpopular teams had better ratings than the Pro Bowl. That should tell somebody something.
4. Tons of Money Spent
With money for Pro Bowl spent like it grows of tress, this has got to be a failing business model for the NFL. Let’s take the players for instance. ALL the players of the winning team walk away with $40,000, while ALL the players of the losing team receive $20,000. Not to mention the travel, lodging and accommodations for the players, coaches and staff, and trust me—Hawaii is not cheap. Looking at the bare stands Sunday night, it leads me to wonder if they're even breaking even.
5. Location, Location, Location
Hawaii is such a beautiful place; dare I say one of the most luxurious of our 50 states. But why Hawaii?
When flying (because that’s the only way you’re getting there) there are no direct flights, and nine out of 10 roads take you through California. While changing planes is not the end of the world, the time it takes to travel to Hawaii could take an entire day. And we all know how tiring air travel can be. So who’s really making it to Hawaii? Can we take a chapter from the NBA on this one? Let’s rotate the cities the same way we do with the Super Bowl. Give various cities an opportunity to host the Pro Bowl, let the best of the best come to a city near you.
I love the high-level concept of what the Pro-Bowl is supposed to be, but I believe that taking a year hiatus to rebrand and come up with a new strategy is needed. Moving the Pro Bowl back to after the Super Bowl needs to be No. 1 on the agenda. This country loves football, so the game is not the problem, the issue is the way the game is being executed.