Columnists, Sports

Inside the Huddle: It’s time to switch up the Pro Bowl

The NFL has become one of the most popular sports in the United States, and for good reason. Every Sunday showcases some of the best athletes in the world doing what they do best for 60 minutes. But unlike most other sports, there is one thing about football that makes it unique —  the physical aspect of the game.

While other popular sports such as basketball, baseball or soccer do have some physical aspects, physicality is by no means an essential part of the game. In football though? Well, it’s one of the key fundamentals of the game.

Yvonne Tang / DFP Staff

This past Sunday, I watched the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl. When I say watched, I say it with a very small “w” because I fell asleep at least two times. The truth is, it isn’t entertaining. Now, I’m not one to sit here and say, “Players should try harder!” because the fact of the matter is, they shouldn’t. 

Why would NFL players risk their bodies in a meaningless game that could net them up to … $80,000? I mean, that’s pocket change to these guys. They already made the team and you don’t get extra recognition for winning the game, so what’s the point? 

One alternative I’ve seen floating around the internet is that the game should be played between the worst and second-worst teams to decide who gets the first overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. First of all, that doesn’t fix the question of why athletes would willingly risk their bodies, since players might be competing for a team they won’t be on next year. Secondly, what kind of NFL player will want to compete in a “Loser Bowl?” 

I mean, are they supposed to be happy after winning the game? What if there is an elite NCAA quarterback coming into the draft. Does the team’s current quarterback want to risk losing his job by trying? I mean read that last sentence back again. “Risk losing his job by trying.” That isn’t the type of football we want to see one week before the Super Bowl. 

Instead, I propose a new idea — flag football. Look, these players don’t want to get hurt, and, truthfully, we don’t want to see players get hurt. So, instead of playing two-hand touch in pads, let’s get the players in shorts, jerseys and hats to play flag football. And, if you want to take this one step further, let’s make it 7-on-7 with four teams that get drafted by four team captains and have a round robin between them.

I mean, you don’t have to look far for inspiration. Just five years ago, the NBA All-Star game was as big of a joke as the Pro Bowl is now, but, to the league’s credit, it has now become quite entertaining. With a televised draft similar to how team captains often worked in schoolyard pickup games, and a more competitive scoring format, the NBA All-Star game is actually exciting and a worthwhile watch. 

The NFL has nailed the skills competitions between players, whether it be dodgeball, throwing accuracy or obstacle courses. It’s fun to see these athletes compete in games we played as kids.

This flag football alternative is similar and it wouldn’t require players to play at full speed. Furthermore, the absence of pads will help encourage players to show off their top-level speed and moves if they desire. 

It’s obvious a change needs to be made because, to be honest, I’m not sure if I can bear to watch another Pro Bowl with how it is now. Make a change. Please, Roger Goodell. If it doesn’t work, find a different solution. But the worst thing we can do is keep the same boring game we have now.

More Articles

Comments are closed.