Monday, July 16, 2007

Fixing the Pro Bowl

As we invest some time in articles for the main site, I wanted to comment on the Pro Bowl. The MLB All-Star game was last week, prompting many talking heads to complain about this or that and say it needs to be fixed in a variety of ways. Let's be clear about something, the MLB All-Star Game is far and away the best of the all star games. It's the most historical, the most fun to watch, and you are GUARANTEED that a player from your favorite team is playing. Some pundits hate that rule, but growing up, I loved it. Why watch an All-Star game if not to see guys from your team. Even when the Reds were bad, I loved knowing that they were going to have an all star. The HR derby is so vastly superior to the slam dunk contest that it barely merits mention. The HR derby involves stars, the dunk contest involves no-names and rookies no one knows. Jordan and Wilkins are not coming back people. Give it up.

The main problem in the Pro Bowl is that it takes place after the Super Bowl. Some players have been off for a month. Most guys just want not to get hurt. There is no real crowd to speak of. Someone might get hurt. If you want to fix the pro bowl I suggest the following:

1. Reduce the pre-season to 3 games and extend the regular season to 17 games. The 17th game would be a permanent inter conference rivalry game. Broken down thusly:

Colts and Bears
Ravens and Redskins
Jets and Giants
Patriots and Packers
Jacksonville and Atlanta
Miami and Tampa
Steelers and Eagles
Cleveland and Detroit
Cincinnati and Carolina
Titans and St. Louis
Texans and Cowboys
Kansas City and New Orleans
Raiders vs 49ers
San Diego vs Arizona
Denver vs Seattle
Buffalo and Minnesota
Each year these teams would play during the 17th and final game of the season.

2. Schedule the Pro Bowl at a rotating site during after week 9. All teams, minus pro-bowlers would take a mandatory 5 day vacation (no practice, no work outs). This would help with injuries during the season and hopefully counter balance any injuries that might occur during the game. The game would take the place of the pointless and irritating week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl.

3. The conference that won the Pro Bowl would win home field advantage for week 17. If the AFC wins the Pro Bowl, all the AFC teams would host the extra game. The gate, including luxury boxes sales for the final game, would be split equally, but it would provide real motivation for the squads to try and win the game. It wouldn't affect playoff positioning within the conference because all teams would have the same number of home games.

The Pro Bowl would instantly vault in to one of the most watched games of the sports year. There would be tremendous buzz and excitement around it. Each team having a guaranteed game with a geographic rival would be tremendous for the league as well. I realize that a couple of the matchups are forced, but most of them are tremendous games that only take place once every 4 years these days (unless you count the pre-season, which I don't because pre-season football sucks).

So there you have it, a revitalized Pro Bowl, a better preseason, and a yearly Colts/Bears show down. What could be better?


JoeB said...

I didn't like the idea of a 17th game when it first became a topic because of the symmetry the schedules have with 16 games. The inter-division rivalry idea solves the problem of throwing off the NFL schedule system that works well and makes sense.
The other problem I see is with the
week 9 date. It gives half a season or less to decide the pro-bowlers. Later in the season could affect the playoffs though and after the superbowl really hurts interest.

Would the Pro Bowl work as a season opener? That would get the season going on a great note. After a few month of no football who wouldn't watch a game with the best of the best NFL Players. Player picked at the end of the regular season, so you improve on the current system that starts voting pretty early. There isn't a perfect time for a football all-star game but I think an opener would be the best spot.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Not a bad idea either. I like it. The best part of the schedule as it is currently set up is the symmetry. I think having one 'rival game' that is fixed every year solves that incongruity well.

coltsfanawalt said...

I live in Northwest IN, the one place where IND/CHI is a true rivalry. Though we live in Indiana, we get all the Chicago channels, thus news and sports.

There are more Bears fans in NW Indiana than Colts fans. I detest that. Ours is the superior state and team, in my opinion.

It was intense around here for the two weeks leading to the Superbowl. The Bears fans were loud and everywhere. Now they're quiet and less visible. Wearing my Colts hats and shirts has been extra enjoyable this year, especially the ones that say "Superbowl Champions"!

My point is, an annual Colts/Bears game would be huge around here. I could only dream...

Make the motion. You have my vote.