The amount of effort of which the NFL is spending trying to get people to pay attention to the Pro Bowl is beginning to reach ridiculous proportions.
With the regular season just finishing up Week 5, and with the playoffs still a good three months away, this hasn’t stopped the league from throwing out anything and everything to show its fans that the Pro Bowl is this cool thing that people should be paying attention to.
The first shot off the bow was the elimination of set squads for the AFC and NFC and instead having Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, the top two vote-getters and two fantasy football winners pick the teams. What could possibly go wrong there?
If that wasn’t enough, the NFL has unveiled the new uniforms for the Pro Bowl, which, from all appearances, look either like surplus from the University of Oregon’s equipment room or the result of a terribly accident at the DayGlo factory.
Here is the problem with all of this. First, and most importantly, the Pro Bowl remains scheduled for the week before the Super Bowl. This, of course, means that any player involved in that game will, in all likelihood, not be making the trip to Hawaii to participate. Keep in mind that one or both of the top two vote-getters may also be playing in the Super Bowl, so that could add an another layer of awkwardness.
Beyond that, there is the long-standing tradition of the Pro Bowl’s low ratings and equally low concern of playing defense. Unlike its baseball and basketball counterparts, football’s all-star affair hasn’t attracted anywhere near the attention the NFL has been looking to garner.
And even with the new changes, that’s not likely to change any time soon. So rather than doing crazy things to get people to care, the NFL needs to do one of two things: Move the Pro Bowl back to the week after the Super Bowl or cancel it altogether.