NFL Pro Bowl on Course for Cancellation
By Community | April 26, 2012
The Pro Bowl game is dangerously close to being suspending for this season and beyond, according to league sources.
The Pro Bowl currently is on the NFL’s calendar the week before the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 3 but no game site has been listed because of its precarious status, sources added.
iSportconnect reported in February, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s disdain for the current format of the game and considered axing it then. He voiced his displeasure with the lack of competitiveness of recent Pro Bowl games. The issue has been raised again according to sources.
Beyond 2013, another league source believes the Pro Bowl is “DOA (dead on arrival).”
If the game is suspended, the league still would have a Pro Bowl balloting process to identify the season’s top players and would direct teams to negotiate Pro Bowl clauses into player contracts and to honor Pro Bowl incentive clauses to avoid any serious conflict with the NFL Players Association. Those players also likely would be honored in some fashion during Super Bowl week.
Goodell has asked NFL players recently for suggestions to make the game more attractive but has yet to embrace a solution, sources said.
Even those within who league support continuance of the game have been unable to persuade Goodell that the game has merit alone on reasonably strong television ratings.
However, the diminishing quality of the game has weighed more heavily on the commissioner who believes it reflects poorly on the league and its players. Sources say Goodell does not hold any ill-will toward the players’ lackluster effort because of player safety issues.
In an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on Super Bowl Sunday, Goodell said the league must address the quality of the game and even said he would consider eliminating the all-star game if it can’t be improved upon.
The AFC routed the NFC 59-41 in last season’s Pro Bowl game that drew boos at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu for its lack of early intensity.
by Ismail Uddin