NFL's New Pro Bowl Schedule Leaves Out the Best

Rodd CaytonCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2008

The National Football League has announced that it will move the 2010 Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Miami, site of Super Bowl XLIV.

Also, the plan is to play the all-star game a week before the Super Bowl.

While I understand what the league is trying to do—generate more interest in a game that's seriously short in that department—I think the proposed change is a terrible idea.

Playing it the week before the Super Bowl would leave out players from the teams competing for the crown. When a team makes it that far, it's usually because that team has a collection of outstanding players, the type who would keep interest high in an all-star game.

Had the new schedule been in place last season, the NFC squad would've missed out on Osi Umenyiora.

The AFC squad would've lacked the New England Patriots' record-setting Brady-to-Moss combo, offensive linemen Dan Koppen, Matt Light and Logan Mankins and defensive standouts Vince Wilfork, Mike Vrabel and Asante Samuel. You've just seen what a "some-star" game would look like.

I can't blame the NFL for trying something new—the kneel-down or the last desperation pass in Tampa will hit send a feeling of finality crashing down on the viewers. You can't eclipse that with a glorified, hitting-optional exhibition game.

So the league is right to assume something has to be done to make people care about the Pro Bowl.

"Moving the Pro Bowl to the Sunday prior to the Super Bowl can add even more excitement to Super Bowl week, one of the most anticipated weeks of the year," said Frank Supovitz, the NFL’s senior vice president of events, in a report on

No, more likely, during the hype-up to the big game, the Pro Bowl will just get in the way. I'm not going to just complain though. I'll offer a better solution: Keep the game in Honolulu, and move the date back, not forward.

I say mid-April, when football withdrawals are at their worst and addicts start marking their calendars with the date of the Hall of Fame a great time for the planet's best league to show off its best.

Of course, the Pro Bowl could be moved to the middle of the regular season, but unless two-hand touch was substituted for tackle, a suggestion for an early November date would be the first proposal rejected 32-0 by NFL owners.

My other suggestion would be to allow each conference to add one retired player, a "legend," if you will. to its roster.

I think fans are more interested in whether Michael Strahan still has it than in seeing the league's showcase taking on as its appetizer a mood-killer.

The NBA went to Las Vegas to give its All-Star game more prominence; Major League Baseball put home-field advantage in the World Series on the line. Why is the NFL moving to feature the "almost good enough?"