Cottam’s Corner: How the NFL can fix the Pro Bowl

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Cottam’s Corner: How the NFL can fix the Pro Bowl

Zach Cottam, Reporter

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This past Sunday, the National Football League participated in the 46th annual Pro Bowl, in which the best athletes from the NFC and AFC play in game. The players are selected by other players, fans, and a Pro Bowl committee. All of the players selected from both conferences can be found here. Unfortunately, the Pro Bowl gets viewed by seemingly no one, and is seen as the worst all star game out of the four major American sports. Here are three ways the NFL can fix the Pro Bowl.

1. Introduce a Lineman Challenge
There’s nothing anyone likes more than strength competitions, and watching overweight men battle it out on the gridiron. The NFL did a good job of introducing the Skills Challenge this year, introducing competitions that included a dodgeball game and drone catching. However, it seems the NFL and the Pro Bowl still value skill players above offensive and defensive lineman. The big men get no recognition, so incorporating a series of Lineman Challenges would offer some spotlight to the guys who never get any love. Activities could include: tire flips, benching competition, sled push races, and obstacle courses. Beyond that, you could do a lineman-only skills competition, including catching, running, and target practice. They could even go as far as to make the game a big 7-on-7, and have lineman competitions count for something else.

2. Incentivize the Pro Bowl
Outside of money earned, the winner of the Pro Bowl doesn’t gain anything except bragging rights. The winning conference receives $61,000 per player, and the losing conference gets $30,000 per player. Sure, $30,000 is a lot of money for a high school student, but it’s like a nickel to these guys. One way to improve this is to raise the amount for the winning and losing teams. On top of this, to encourage higher levels of play, the NFL could hand out extra money to the players who win Offensive and Defensive MVPs for both teams. Beyond money though, the Pro Bowl Committee should consider creating some reward for the Pro Bowl. It doesn’t have to be anything large, but something like the conference-representative of the winning conference gets to choose their jersey color first for the Super Bowl, rather than it be a rotating system. It could even decide who is the Home team in the Hall of Fame game. Regardless of what it is, the NFL needs to give more reward to the winning conference.\

3. Return to the Fantasy Football Format
The past few years, the NFL chose Hall of Famers to captain fantasy football teams, and drafted the chosen players from there. The teams weren’t based by conference, and it gave teammates a better chance to play against each other. It also aids an air of excitement, as no one knows what players will end up on which team. NFC vs. AFC is old, as each year, the same players play on the same team against the same guys, and there’s no excitement. Returning to the fantasy format would allow for more options in the game, and also allows the fans to select a team not entirely based on which conference their favorite team is. Obviously, the NFL saw the fantasy format as something that didn’t gain them money, or else they wouldn’t have changed back. However, they must see something most don’t, as making real life fantasy football for all 25 positions sounds more exciting than AFC vs. NFC.

The Pro Bowl is a long ways away from being exciting, or even watchable at that. However, a few small changes could really make the game much more enjoyable.

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