What would it take for you to tune in to the Pro Bowl?
Rhino jousting at halftime? XFL-style coin tosses? Clowns dueling with arakhs under the Hawaiian sun?
The league has been trying to solve this puzzle for years, and its latest attempt at making the Pro Bowl watchable has been the institution of a player draft.
This change alters the Pro Bowl drastically from its former structure.
The teams are no longer separated by conference and will be dictated entirely by "alumni captains" Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice, who have been awarded the duty of drafting teams out of this year's pool of Pro Bowl players.
It’s a drastic departure from the prior format, and some are not a fan of the new system and its rules.
According to TMZ, one of those who isn’t loving the fantasy draft style format is former Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon.
The 2014 Pro Bowl draft began Tuesday with Rice, Sanders and their co-captains selecting defensive linemen for their teams. The first draft pick was Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
It wasn’t long before Gannon took to Twitter to blast the entire process.
Is the new Pro Bowl draft too gimmicky for your tastes?
Is there something distasteful about taking the top performers in the league and putting them into a sandlot-style, “I hope I don’t get picked last” situation?
To be clear, every Pro Bowler will end up on a team—although some will not be “drafted.”
According to BuffaloBills.com, drafting will go by position, and once a team has reached its “roster limit” for a certain position (wide receiver, running back, etc.), the undrafted candidates remaining at that position will be assigned automatically to a team.
In short, 82 of the 88 players in the Pro Bowl are draft-eligible. The six unaccounted for in that 88 are the four team captains and two “need” players, which means long snappers. Yes, the poor long snappers aren’t even draft eligible in the first place.
This tactic might work—it might not. You’ve got to give the NFL at least some credit—they’re trying to make the Pro Bowl more interesting. Granted, they’re a stone’s throw from suspending cage-dancers over midfield to spice up this glorified game of two-hand touch.
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