For years the discussion over the Pro Bowl has centered around how the NFL can make their All-Star game a better product and keep fans interested in the game.
The TV ratings have remained high as 12.2 million football-crazed fans tuned in for last year’s game between the AFC and NFC Championship Games and the Super Bowl, but tinkering continued as the NFL moved away from the standard NFC vs. AFC format.
This year Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders drafted two teams from the pool of players over a two-days that failed to capture the attention of fans around the country and one of the game’s biggest ambassadors, Hall of Fame coach, John Madden has joined the critics in thinking the game is very close to ending.
“I was a big fan of the Pro Bowl, and I always backed it,” Madden said onSiriusXM NFL Radio. “For the last three or four years, I’ve really been down on it, because the players don’t put their heart in it. I know about injuries and all that stuff. They don’t play very hard. It’s always been tough to have an all-star game in football. Baseball, it’s easier to have an all-star game and they can be great all-star games. Basketball, it’s easier, and they can be great all-star games. Football, it’s tough to have a great all-star game, especially in pro football. So you know that going in.
“But doggone it, we’ve been doing it for a long time, and we have to protect the integrity of it. The integrity of it has gone away in the last four or five years. I think they’re trying to fix it, but, to me, it’s become an embarrassment. It’s become a joke. As they fix it, instead of getting better, it’s becoming a bigger joke. I think this is very close to the end of the Pro Bowl.”
Many share Madden’s view here and think the Pro Bowl should no longer be played and rather a skills competition should be staged in Hawaii with some sort of cash prize being the incentive for players to participate.