The NFL is doing their level best to make chicken salad out of chicken shit when it comes to the Pro Bowl. By moving the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl, the NFL is trying to increase the visibility and increase fan interest. It’s not working. The best players on the best teams – in this case the Colts and Saints - have pulled out of the game. This only adds to an already extensive list of players who pull out of the game with injuries both major and minor.
Let’s get this out of the way up front – there is no way to make the intensity of the Pro Bowl anywhere near that of a real NFL game. It’s an exhibition game featuring the best players who want no part of an offseason injury that could cost them a season. I can’t disagree. How angry would you be if Lance Briggs blew an ACL playing in a meaningless game?
So what can be done to try to at least increase fan interest? Follow the jump for my idea.
If you want to increase fan interest, I think there’s one way to do it – move the game to be the Hall of Fame Game. You know the Hall of Fame Game, right? It’s the first preseason game that kicks off the Hall of Fame weekend in Canton.
I know, it’s way removed from the 2009 season. Fair enough. But consider this: when are fans the most ravenous and starved for NFL football? How about in early August, a full 6 months after the last meaningful game of the last season?
I am not suggesting that this game would be more like a real NFL game or pull the Pro Bowl on par with the MLB All Star Game. I already conceded at the beginning of this post that we can’t do that. But at least this way you’ve got the die-hards tuning in to a game that they otherwise would never watch. Who watched last season’s HOF game? Do you even know who played? Me neither.
Instead, you get the best from the last season out on the gridiron to set the stage for the upcoming season for a salivating fan base dying to see a game. Any game. Even a lousy exhibition.
All the while, you’ve got the Hall of Fame class looking down on some would-be and wanna-be Hall of Famers. Seems to tie it up with a nice big bow, doesn’t it?