The NFL’s Pro Bowl is a hot topic for some, but most are completely indifferent to it. That is an issue. The Pro Bowl was designed as a game where fans would be able to see their favorite players compete against other top players from around the league. Now, it has become a hit-or-miss (mostly miss) game.
There are multiple flaws with the game that lead to its poor perception among fans. First and foremost, a lack of effort. What is the point in watching a professional football game in which a majority of the players do not put forth effort? This can mainly be chalked up to a fear of injury. Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was a victim of this exact fear.
He attended his first Pro Bowl back in 2015, and was most likely as excited as he’s ever been. Unfortunately, he suffered an ankle injury and hasn’t been the same since. If his level of play ever reaches that level again, there is massive doubt about whether or not he would want to attend the game at all, let alone play with effort. Also, one of the biggest pros for players to attend the Pro Bowl, a trip to Hawaii, is not a part of the game anymore.
Another massive issue is a flawed voting system. At this point, it is essentially common knowledge that the game is a popularity contest. Big-market players receive a massive advantage when it comes to voting simply because they get more exposure. Take Broncos safety Justin Simmons as an example of a small-market player not getting the recognition they deserve. Simmons was one of the best players in the league last year, even earning a second-team All-Pro nod, but he was not voted into the Pro Bowl.
He didn’t even have a chance. There is also an issue with players who are invited to attend as alternates being given the same recognition as players who were originally voted in, but that doesn’t necessarily hurt the quality of the game itself.
The Pro Bowl is great idea; it is just poorly implemented. In fact, there is most likely no way to incorporate a tackle football game among NFL players outside of important season games. There are a few possible solutions: Completely remove the Pro Bowl and replace it with a skills competition, switch to a flag-football-style game, or remove the game completely.
The most feasible alternative of the three is a skills competition, as there already is one, albeit on a smaller scale than what would be required to replace the Pro Bowl. Many football fans do not watch the game at all anymore, and I for one did not even know it was on when they were playing. Regardless of what the NFL has planned, the simple reality is that there needs to be change, and soon.