While the NFL Pro Bowl is set to air 7 p.m. Sunday from Honolulu, Hawaii, many football fans are not waiting on the edge of their seats.
Although the annual all-star game has been a tradition of professional football since the 1970s, many consider the Pro Bowl a joke. The NFL has made structural game changes during the last few years with hope of increasing the Pro Bowl’s popularity, such as incorporating a draft pool where team captains can hand-pick players. Here’s a few common reasons why people have issues with the Pro Bowl.
The priority for coaches and players is to have everyone involved walk away from the Pro Bowl free of injuries. It would be a shame to have a team’s star player hurt in a game that doesn’t count toward anything, even though all participating players will not be competing again until the preseason during the fall. This also is why none of the selected players on either of this year’s Super Bowl teams will be dressed to play, but instead will be watching from the sidelines. Also, because players are trying to stay healthy, they aren’t playing as hard as they would if the stakes were higher.
The Pro Bowl has a number of rules that differ from a regular season football game. During 2014, the NFL expanded changes to how the game is conducted, including removing kickoffs and adding a two-minute warning to the first and third quarter. During 2015, the league increased the number of timeouts each team could have from three per half to two per quarter, and the league narrowed the width of the goal posts from 18 feet to 14 feet.
Despite the objections, people are still finding something about this event worthy of watching. The Pro Bowl drew 11.7 million viewers during 2014, according to Sports Illustrated. Who would have thought so many people were watching the game many football fans ignore? But as a football fan myself, here are my reasons for watching the Pro Bowl.
College football is done for the year, and there’s still another week before the Super Bowl. If you can’t get through your Sundays without football just yet, there are going to be limited options this weekend. Because only two teams remain, the other 30 football organizations and their respective players won’t take the field again until August. The offseason also brings a lot of changes — players get traded, released, drafted and so on — so only time will tell what uniform players will be wearing next season.
For those who are not a fan of the Pro Bowl, give it a second look, because all football fans will be wishing there were a game on television in two weeks.