When we first heard about all the drastic changes that the NFL was going to make to the Pro Bowl this season, we were, if nothing else, intrigued. In fact, the idea behind this year's Pro Bowl sounded like a pretty good one. Rather than line up a bunch of AFC Pro Bowl players against a bunch of NFC Pro Bowl players like the NFL has done in the past, the plan was to make Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders "captains" for the Pro Bowl and allow them to draft players for their teams, fantasy football style, regardless of which conference those players belong to. The thought was that, in the end, it would make the Pro Bowl better for fans.
But now, we're not so sure. Earlier this week, the NFL held the inaugural Pro Bowl draft. And after looking at both lineups—which you can find over here—we don't necessarily see how this setup is going to result in a better game. The fact that Sanders has promised to suit up for the game does make us a little more likely to tune into the Pro Bowl on Sunday. But uhhhh…doesn't this seem like it's going to be a mess? If you sit and try to watch the Pro Bowl, you're going to have to stop after every play and say, "Wait, who caught that pass? And who threw it? And why is he from the NFC but playing with a guy from the AFC? And…" Yeah, a mess.
We're not the only ones who think that, either. Yesterday, John Madden did an interview with SiriusXM's "Schein on Sports" and he basically said what everyone is thinking with regards to the Pro Bowl. And he didn't pull any punches.
"It's become an embarrassment," he said, "it's become a joke, and as they seek to improve it, it's become an even bigger joke."
There are a lot of former NFL players who agree with him, too. They don't like the new format of the Pro Bowl and think it's even worse than the old one. Here are some of the reactions we've seen:
"They're making a joke of the Pro Bowl. I hate it." - Jerome Bettis on NFL Live— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 22, 2014
@funkflex I agree with Madden. The Pro Bowl selection process is a complete fiasco! Team Sanders and Rice? Lol! Goodell is destroying the— Thomas Jones (@ThomasJonesRB) January 23, 2014
Ex-Raiders QB Rich Gannon -- The New NFL Pro Bowl Draft ... SUUUCKS!!!!! http://t.co/tFuUvjjqPG— TMZ (@TMZ) January 22, 2014
We're willing to let the Pro Bowl play out this year to see if it's anymore entertaining than Pro Bowls have been in the past. Who knows? Maybe the new format will result in a better product in the end. But if everyone's suspicions are correct and the Pro Bowl isn't any good this year, it might be time to seriously consider doing away with it altogether. At this point, the NFL is doing everything it can to save it. But if no one likes what it's become and it doesn't reflect positively on the NFL, then why have it at all?
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[via Fox Sports]