The NFL's annual Pro Bowl in paradise has gone from great idea to not-so-entertaining joke over the years, and telling it one more time would be a slap in the face to both players and fans.
That's why the league must part ways with its current All-Star celebration and begin a new era with some entertaining skills challenges that pit the sport's best against one another in meaningful competitions.
In this case, the NFL needs to take a page out of the NBA's and NHL's book.
There are tons of creative ways to challenge Pro Bowlers. Take the quarterbacks for example. For an accuracy challenge, you could have them take turns trying to throw a ball through tires. Not exactly a complex or new idea, but enjoyable nonetheless. For arm strength, let us see each of them chuck the ball deep downfield. Again, fans want to see their favorite stars be challenged, they aren't in the Pro Bowl.
Here's a quick preview of some potential skills challenges:
These type of events would be easy to understand and more importantly competitive.
No, these NFL skills challenges wouldn't touch MLB's Home Run Derby or the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest, but since the NFL honors its All-Stars after the season is over while fans are looking ahead to a long offseason, it's the only way to bring meaning and purpose to the annual winter get-together in Honolulu.
The Pro Bowl contradicts itself. Football is a violent game by nature, and to play it at half speed without a desire to win or achieve something meaningful is silly.
Which would you rather watch in 2014?
If the NFL is looking for laughs, then it's on to something with the Pro Bowl, but if it's looking for entertainment more similar to what it brings us every Sunday afternoon in the fall, then implementing competitive skills challenges makes more sense.
Players in today's game aren't willing to risk serious injury, money or their future by playing in a meaningless football game. So instead, have them line up in individual skills challenges where as competitors they'll be motivated to give more effort. Plus, there's a much lower risk of injury.
NFL fans will watch anything with the shield stamped on it, and therefore the league has nothing to lose by experimenting with its annual All-Star celebration.
One thing we know for sure, it can't be as lackluster as the Pro Bowl is right now.
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