Could the Pro Bowl be over? ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that the NFL will likely end the annual all-star game next year. This speculation, attributed to unnamed league sources, comes after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in February that the quality of the game must be improved or he would eliminate it. The Pro Bowl is typically played in Hawaii the week before the Super Bowl, and with many players taking it easy to avoid injury, fans booed loudly during this year's game. Plus, 20 players who were selected opted not to play at all, raising "the question of whether the game is still special," says Mortensen. Should the NFL put the Pro Bowl out of its misery?
Yes. Kill the Pro Bowl: "There is no point in putting on a show that nobody cares about," says Jesse Reed at Bleacher Report. Football is a violent sport, and the Pro Bowl is nearly violence-less. Players have nothing at stake, so they play exceptionally cautiously — to the point that it "demeans both the players and the game we love." This year's charade was so laughable that I could only stomach 10 minutes "before I flipped the channel and started watching golf."
"NFL Pro Bowl: League would make right call to suspend meaningless game"
No. It's still worthwhile: The Pro Bowl backlash is relatively new, says Julie Hayes at Yahoo, largely spurred by the last highly-criticized outing. But "one bad game shouldn't destroy a tradition that has lasted 62 years." The Pro Bowl still draws respectable ratings, and by scheduling it the weekend before the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl gives football fans a chance to watch some pigskin on what would otherwise be "the first dead weekend in the NFL since August." The game has problems, but it also still has value.
"The Pro Bowl isn't going away (yet)"
Don't end it. Improve it: Rather than dumping the Pro Bowl altogether, the NFL should take steps to make it more enjoyable, says DJ Gallo at ESPN. Why not change the rules to give players extra incentive to go for big, exciting plays? Make touchdowns worth more if they're scored from further down the field. Give the defense points for causing turnovers. Gimmicks like having players serve as coaches could also spice things up. "I'd love to see a Cam Newton-conceived offense going up against Troy Polamalu's defensive schemes." And above all, make sure Tim Tebow is involved, somehow.
"Don't scrap the Pro Bowl; fix the Pro Bowl"