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An idea to change what the Pro Bowl is

Something seems wrong about a showcase of the stars that features Jameis Winston handing the ball off to Latavius Murray.

Something seems wrong about a showcase of the stars that features Jameis Winston handing the ball off to Latavius Murray.

Why is it that even though the NBA All-Star game is a complete embarrassment of what the sports can be, yet the NBA All-Star weekend is an incredibly fun and popular time for NBA fans? Why is it that the MLB All-Star game can attract more viewers than a typical championship series game. And why is it that the Pro Bowl continues to be a less and less cared about event with a drop in ratings every single year?

The NFL tried to add some flare to the Pro Bowl by intermingling the player pool, no longer separating the team’s by league but now having two all-time greats draft their rosters so we can potentially see Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball to Antonio Brown, or Eric Berry trying to defend his own teammates Travis Kelce. But the biggest problem with the Pro Bowl is that we simply just do not get what we are told we are getting.

Only one of the six quarterbacks in this year’s Pro Bowl was actually selected; that was Russell Wilson. Cam Newton could not go because he was preparing for the Super Bowl, but Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger all choose not to participate despite being selected in. Philip Rivers outright declined an invitation as a backup.

So instead of seeing Palmer throwing the ball to Calvin Johnson against a pass rush consisting of J.J. Watt and Jamie Collins while Kam Chancellor and Patrick Peterson were covering, we saw Derek Carr and Tyrod Taylor throwing to Gary Barnidge and handing the ball off to Cedric Peerman against three safeties who were not selected to the Pro Bowl anyway.

Wouldn't you be interested in seeing what Jimmy Garoppolo might be able to do in a professional football game?

Wouldn’t you be interested in seeing what Jimmy Garoppolo might be able to do in a professional football game?

While the potential to get a $70,000 check for winning the Pro Bowl is a lot of money to an average fan, that is not going to even come close to being something that would incentivize a multi-millionaire like Brady from ever even considering playing in the exhibition game, where he would risk injury.

The NFL has to find a group of players who that will attract to the game instead. While the argument was just made that nobody wants to necessarily watch the Pro Bowl because Carr and Jameis Winston are the quarterbacks, that is because of how the game is marketed, it leads to a let down. The Pro Bowl is supposed to be the best against the best — a true All-Star game, but it is just a team full of the best players who decided to go.

But, if the NFL wants to add flare to the Pro Bowl, they should not make it an All-Star game, make it a futures game like the NFL has as one of the featured attractions in their festivities. A rookies vs. sophomores game would put Teddy Bridgewater and Odell Beckham Jr. against Marcus Mariota and Todd Gurley. That is pretty intriguing and would allow NFL fans to see the future stars of the league. Even for the worst teams in the league it could provide some hope for the future instead of disappointment that another great season by a particular player was wasted.

Of course, there would be an All-Star team voted on by fans, those guys would be given some sort of compensation and a free trip to Hawaii and would have to participate in some sort of skills competition. The NFL used to have a skills challenge up until 2007. Among the activities were a 40-yard dash, events to show off quarterback accuracy and distance, kicking competition, catching competitions and bench presses. Maybe a pass-rush, pass-pro could be added. Just something to keep the big stars involved. It was always a mystery why that skills competition during the week leading up to the Pro Bowl was stopped, it was fun and something else.

And a celebrity – superstars flag football game. Who wouldn’t want to see Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders line up and talk trash while celebrities like former Miami Hurricanes star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson show up. Of maybe we get to see Josh Duhamel, who played quarterback at Minot State, throw a slant route to Jerry Rice.

The Pro Bowl has no excitement around it because a showcase of the NFL’s finest that features Derek Carr and Tyron Taylor under center just doesn’t create any; but a fresh take on what it could be and a weekend long event would give better reasons to tune in.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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