Even with this year’s new schoolyard pick format, the ratings for the NFL pro bowl are strong, but not nearly what they could be. This year’s game seemed like less of a farce, perhaps because the change in format made it more interesting for the players. The league is still not using the all-star event to its potential. Previously, I gave you some more entertaining tweaks to the game (albeit tongue-in-cheek). If the league is serious about continuing to improve the quality and relevance of the Pro Bowl, here’s one option that will get fans of all teams to tune in.
Two Pro Bowls: Conference Runner-ups v. Conference All-Pros
The team that lost the conference championship plays against their conference’s all-stars in Hawaii the next week. If they win, they get an automatic playoff spot next year. This gives the league (and TV networks) you TWO Pro-Bowls, with something significant at stake. The players will be motivated. The fans of the other 28 teams will tune in to see whether it will be a little tougher for their team to make the playoffs next year — a definite rooting interest.
Under this system, this year’s Pro Bowl games would have been the San Francisco 49ers v. the NFC Prow Bowlers, and the New England Patriots v. the AFC Pro Bowlers.
A guaranteed playoff spot. The team would still be motivated to play hard during the year because they would be playing to earn a higher seed. That bye week and home-field advantage is still highly coveted. If you can beat a motivated squad of all-stars, you certainly deserve such a reward. I would tune in to see that every year.