When people ask me if I will be watching the Pro Bowl, my answer is no. It hurts me as a big NFL fan to say I won't be watching all the best players gather in one game, but part of the problem is that the best won't be there.
Every year, people try to come up with ways to fix the Pro Bowl. It will be difficult, but I've got three ways that I think can help move the NFL in the right direction.
1. Bring back the skills competition.
This is a must need for the Pro Bowl. Look at all the other professional sports.
The most popular part of the MLB All-Star game? The home run derby.
What about NBA All-Star Weekend? The slam dunk contest.
And even though it may not be the most popular part of the NHL all star experience, the NHL still has an All-Star competition.
What I'm saying is, bring in a skills competition. They had a skills competition as far back as 2007, but it was taken out.
Have the best QBs throw balls for accuracy, have some guys run an obstacle course, see who the strongest lineman is, and have the WRs test their hands.
Seriously, what bad could come out of having a skills competition?
It makes it fun for the fans, and I'm sure it also makes it more fun for the guys competing.
2. Make it count
Right now, the winner of the Pro Bowl gets nothing. In MLB, they get home field advantage for the World Series. Giving the winning team this advantage makes the guys actually care about the game.
This is what the NFL should do.
I'm all for giving the best team home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but give the home field advantage to the team who won the Pro Bowl.
Unfortunately, this would take away from holding the Super Bowl in a designated place with nice weather every year.
Then again, the NFL is the only sport which does this.
I don't care if the 10-6 New York Giants are playing the 16-0 New England Patriots, if the NFC won the last Pro Bowl, then the Super Bowl is going to be played at the Meadowlands.
3. Take away fan voting
This is possibly one of the biggest problems with this game. For example, London Fletcher lead the league in tackles this season. He has been one of the best and most underrated linebackers this decade.
And he will be heading to his first Pro Bowl this year, and that's only after Johnathan Vilma is missing the game due to playing in the Super Bowl.
The NFL needs to take the voting away from the fans and give it to the coaches and GM's or give it to sports writers.
Either way, our Pro Bowl athletes need to be in the hands of the fans ASAP.
4. Move the Pro Bowl back before the Super Bowl
This is a stupid move. Honestly, I don't know why this move was ever made.
They did it to make the Pro Bowl week more popular, but what it has done will probably make the Pro Bowl less popular. By moving it up, they have taken away 14 players, seven from the Colts and seven from the Saints. Instead of seeing Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, we get to see David Garrard and Donovan McNabb.
Seriously? People are going to come to the Pro Bowl to see David Garrard and Vince Young?
No. The move needs to be made next year, to bring the Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl again.
5. Keep it in Aloha Stadium
Where would you rather go at the end of a tough, tiring NFL seaso?. Honolulu or Miami?
Don't get me wrong, Miami is nice, but it's a place most players have gone during the year and where the Miami Dolphins play every week.
When the game is in Hawaii, it's a different scene. It's beautiful, and players can bring family and friends out to Hawaii and have them enjoy the experience with them.
The fact is, players are willing to skip out on a trip to Miami. Even though some players will skip out on Hawaii, the number that do will be down for sure.
I'm not saying that these five replacements will make the Pro Bowl must-see t.v., but I think it will help the Pro Bowl get the publicity and popularity back that it needs.