The Pro Bowl goes down this afternoon in Honolulu. There are seven Minnesota players in the game so Vikes fans have plenty of reason to watch. Adrian Peterson will be out there and he promises to give full effort, which could make for some good comical entertainment. Adrian at full speed knocking half-assing defensive players over like bowling pins. I hope he doesn’t kill anyone. I mean that sincerely. AFC defensive guys, better strap it on when Adrian has the ball. Or he might asplode you.
But outside of Adrian, will any of the Pro Bowlers give anything like a normal effort? I imagine most of them will lollygag through the game like usual. And the Pro Bowl will be unwatchable junk like normal. Honestly, does anyone over the age of 5 really enjoy the Pro Bowl? The players hate playing in it. The league has flirted with the idea of dumping it. I guess the TV network likes it cause it brings ratings. It’s football! People will watch! Even if it’s garbage!
I could propose some ideas to make the Pro Bowl better. Maybe turn it into an MTV Rock-n-Jock type exhibition with all sorts of stupid gimmicks? Throw some celebrities out there? How about Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville. Put them out there. Throw a helmet on them. Let some guys thump them. NFL-meets-Jackass. Oh my gosh Adrian Peterson just broke Steve-O in half! I’d watch that. No question.
Outside of gimmickry though, is there any way to improve this game? You can’t force guys to try harder. Offering them more money won’t do it. They are going to protect themselves and avoid injury. They’ve got futures to think about. Except for the guys like Adrian who don’t know how to back off, most guys are naturally going to shut it down. And I don’t really blame them. It’s only sensible.
The only real solution to the problem of boring, unwatchable, lame Pro Bowls is to totally nuke the game. Just get rid of it. Give guys the Pro Bowl designation so they can earn those incentives. Maybe have a big convention in the offseason with all the Pro Bowlers there. Stage an exhibition game with top college players. Have some NBA All-Star Weekend-style skills competitions. People will watch that too. They’ll watch pretty much anything NFL-related. Slap an NFL logo on some guys standing around chewing gum and people will tune in.
Folks love their football. Even the crap kind. And that’s why, in the end, I don’t think the league will nuke the Pro Bowl. They’ll hold their noses and keep putting it on. In a couple years there won’t be any voted-in players actually playing. Everyone will drop out. You’ll have fourth string wide receivers starting. It will turn into essentially an audition game for free agents and unsung young guys. And a few old decrepit guys who want to earn one more paycheck. Um yeah. Wow. Entertainment.