Aloha Pro Bowl – LOWER THE BOOM!!!


It’s time to LOWER THE BOOM again this week; my time to vent some frustrations on the world of sports.  As we prepare for the Pro Bowl this week it’s time to go after the NFL and their decision to move the Pro Bowl out of Hawaii, where it has been played since 1980, starting in 2010.

In an effort to draw more interest and legitimize the Pro Bowl, the NFL, in it’s infinite wisdom, has decided to move the game to the weekend before the Super Bowl and play the game at the Super Bowl site.  I’ve got a few problems with this new arrangement.

First of all, if you play the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl, you assure that you won’t have any players from the Super Bowl teams participating in the Pro Bowl.  Now what sense does it make that the best players from arguably the best teams not participate in the Pro Bowl?  How is that adding any legitimacy to the game?

Secondly, you move the game out of Hawaii to the site of the Super Bowl.  Most, if not all players selected to the Pro Bowl, see the trip to Hawaii as a reward; a kind of a bonus.  They take their families or take teammates or coaches as a thanks for the their hard work throughout the season.  From ESPN’s article citing the players’ desire to keep the game in Hawaii:

"One thing is clear, many of the NFL’s top stars are unsure about the Pro Bowl being shipped to the mainland.“I just think you take away from everything the Pro Bowl means,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I don’t understand it all.”The Baltimore Ravens linebacker, who played college football at the University of Miami, said he would “probably not” play next year’s game if selected.Lewis, making his 10th Pro Bowl trip, said many players live or visit Florida often, so playing there wouldn’t necessarily be a reward.“That’s no vacation,” he said. “That’s what we regularly do. You don’t want to go to the Pro Bowl and do what you regularly do. You want to come over and do something different. You want to tour the islands and bring the kids over here to see something different.”"

Of course it’s an honor to be selected by the fans, coaches and peers to be considered among the best at what you do and that acknowledgment should be reward enough.  But I get it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying for the millionaires who won’t get a free trip to Hawaii, but it seems like players won’t participate if it’s in a regular NFL city.  Are we really going to get a better game if the best of the best don’t play?

Next season, Miami will host the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.  That’s not too bad I guess.  But what happens in 2012 when Indianapolis hosts the festivities?  Not much of a treat pack up the family, as many Pro Bowlers do, and head to Indy in late January, is it?  Where would you rather go?

Normally, the network that televises the Super Bowl gets the option to buy the rights to televise the Pro Bowl.  CBS, which will be broadcasting the 2010 Super Bowl, apparently declined the option.   ESPN has bought the rights to televise the game next year and will be hyping it endlessly throughout the season.

Do you think the move to the week prior to the Super Bowl has anything to do with the fact that ESPN will be televising the 2010 game?  I hate to throw conspiracy theories out there, but virtually no one watches the Pro Bowl when it’s played after the Super Bowl.  I agree with Commissioner Roger Goodell who called it “anticlimactic.”  By moving it to the week before, it is certain to get more hype and attention since everyone is still is full-blown football mode, but at what expense?  You won’t have the best players from the best teams playing.  You’ll have even more players turning down the right to play.

Hey NFL and Commissioner Goodell, stop trying to turn the Pro Bowl into something that it’s not and give everyone their all expense paid trip to Hawaii.  Aloha!