Pro Bowl solution finally discovered

first_imgI have been warned.With the Herald Sports curse now in full swing — per Adam Holt and Jordan Schelling in yesterday’s PCP – I’m staying away from any proclamations, predictions, projections, picks or profiles. No thoughts on the Super Bowl, no expectations for the rest of the NBA season and, for my readers’ sake, no reflections on the Badgers. You’re welcome.Instead, I would like to divert my thoughts to this weekend’s Pro Bowl. To be honest, if this column space follows the current trend, and the jinx rears its ugly head again this Sunday, very few will care. While I’m a big fan of Roger Goodell and his actions in three-plus years as NFL commissioner, the Pro Bowl has remained stagnant in its present format. Defenses care less about the game than Allen Iverson does about practice. Offenses run up and down the field easier than Usain Bolt. And, in the week leading up to the event, players drop out quicker than Angelina did on the “Jersey Shore.”Perhaps Goodell and his cronies have shared some of these sentiments. This year, for the first time ever, the Pro Bowl will be played at the site of the Super Bowl, one week before the big game. For that, I commend the commissioner. Previously, the NFL’s “all-star game” was held the week after Super Bowl Sunday in Honolulu, HI. Having the Pro Bowl held the week after the Super Bowl never made much sense; as America continued to digest its beer and hot wings, interest in pro football was generally waning.Every other professional sport has seemed to figure out that regardless of its overall success, all-star events belong in the middle of their respective seasons, when interest in the sport is at its peak. In my opinion, baseball does it best. The MLB All-Star break garners significant interest in essentially all of its major events; the Home Run Derby — despite continual debates over the best possible format — is always a hit, the Futures Game has seen rapid growth in popularity and the All-Star Game itself is consistently successful. As a result, Goodell and the NFL have taken a good first step in bumping up the Pro Bowl.Yet, more steps lie ahead in the quest for Pro Bowl prominence. For one, the NFL needs to continue to radically revamp its calendar. For the past few years, there has been frequent discussion about adding a game or two to the regular season schedule, which would bring the total to 17 or 18 games for each team. That’s ridiculous. Football is already the most grueling sport in America, and injuries already derail the majority of teams’ seasons every year.Furthermore, this week leading up to the Pro Bowl has seen a seemingly countless number of nominated players drop out with injuries — many legit, many not so much. If the best players in the league find themselves physically unable to participate in the Pro Bowl, does expanding the regular season make any sense? If those same players also find themselves unable to get motivated to play, imagine them after playing 19 games before the postseason even begins. Many proponents of an expanded schedule cite the number of injuries in meaningless preseason games in support of increasing the length of the regular season. Such expansion would allow for the elimination of one or two preseason games, but a better solution exists.This past season, preseason play began on Sunday, Aug. 9 with the Hall of Fame Game at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Making up a solid package with the Hall of Fame enshrinement the day before, the HOF Game should stay where it is. The rest of the NFL, meanwhile, began preseason play the following Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.Drum roll, please.Here’s my grand idea for fixing the Pro Bowl: play it the day after the HOF Game, in Canton, on Monday night. Imagine the entire football world has its eyes on Canton as the all-time greats are welcomed into the pantheon of football history. Saturday belongs to those greats and their accomplishments, while Sunday will give fans their first taste of NFL action in the HOF Game. The next night, the Pro Bowl will mark the beginning of the Monday Night Football season, making every football fan’s favorite day of the workweek even better. ESPN would have a field day with the “Is It Monday Yet?” promos, and all would be good in the football world.In summary, the Hall of Fame Game weekend would feature two games supplementing the enshrinement ceremony. Saturday to Monday, all football. Later in the week, when the current preseason format has regular preseason games beginning Thursday night and going through the next Monday night, fans would be given the best week of the year: eight days of football in approximately a week-and-a-half. In addition, there would be no conflict with player availability for the Super Bowl teams, as currently is the case. Now, channeling my inner “Entourage” obsession, is that something you might be interested in?Making this one move would revitalize the Pro Bowl and give the sports world a jolt of energy. However, football fans, I’m not done yet. My last step to restoring the relevance of the event involves the selection of those who actually get to play in the game. Presently, Pro Bowl voting is divided into thirds; coaches, players, and fans each have equal say. While I love my opportunity to vote, coaches and players need to have the majority of the voting power, solely because they know the NFL better than anyone. As a result, I propose voting be divided into fifths: two-fifths for coaches, two-fifths for the players, and one-fifth for fans. That way, everyone stays happy.Voil?, the Pro Bowl is fixed. Unless it actually is my turn to impose the Herald Sports curse, that is.Mike is a sophomore planning on majoring in journalism. Love his blueprint for fixing the Pro Bowl? Think he should stick to his cereal bowl? Let him know at [email protected]last_img read more