To some, the game has never mattered. But to many NFL fans, and especially its players, being selected to the Pro Bowl was not only an honor and a chance to make some money, but it was also a chance to spend a family vacation in paradise.
Ah, but times have changed. Not only do players make much more money these days, but the game being played in Miami this year, and before the Super Bowl, has diminished its impact.
What a stupid decision it was to schedule the game to be held prior to the Super Bowl. Not only did that mean that the two teams playing in the big game were unable to play in the Pro Bowl, but the venue change to Miami has definitely decreased its desirability.
But even when the game is rescheduled and in its proper place after the season, the game has simply lost its luster, and this is mainly due to salary escalation in the NFL.
At one time, the money paid to the winning team actually mattered to the players.
But now it is tip money for most of the guys.
Yes, the selection is still an honor for most of the players, but to play in the game is an afterthought. And that is too bad.
So what should the NFL do? Well, one obvious change is to restore the game to after the Super Bowl and bring it back to Hawaii.
But more changes may be needed.
How about raising the stakes? Either give each player on the winning team more money or tie player bonuses into actually playing in the game. In other words, if you don't play, you don't get your bonus.
No matter what happens, it is clear that the Pro Bowl is not what it used to be. And, like dinosaurs and eight-track tapes, it may be obsolete.
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