NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Super Bowl Sunday that the NFL would consider dumping the Pro Bowl if game quality can't be improved in the future.
Goodell said on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning on Sunday that the league would have to look at how to improve the Pro Bowl after fans and media criticized it for sloppy play and general apathy displayed by the players.
I really didn't think that was the kind of football that we want to be demonstrating for our fans, Goodell said. And you heard it from the fans. The fans were actively booing in the stands. They didn't like what they were seeing.
We're either going to have to improve the quality of what we're doing in the Pro Bowl or consider other changes or even considering eliminating the game if that's the kind of quality game we're going to provide, Goodell said.
The Pro Bowl is usually just a free trip to Hawaii for players and doesn't generate too much passion from either the players or the fans. The NFL tried to generate more interest in the all-star game by moving it to the week before the Super Bowl instead of the week after, but television ratings dropped this year.
Worse is that even the players seem to be complaining about the Pro Bowl. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was named MVP on Saturday, criticized the play of his fellow NFC Pro Bowlers.
I was just surprised that some of the guys either didn't want to play or when they were in there didn't put any effort into it, Rodgers said.
It's hard to come up with an easy fix for the lack of interest in the Pro Bowl, though. Due to the NFL's decision to play it at the end of the season instead of during the season as other sports leagues do with their all-star games, it's hard to prod players to perform to the best of their abilities.
Most sports all-star games are a joke, but the NFL's Pro Bowl really is the epitome of them all. Goodell likely made those comments on Sunday to serve as a wake-up call to players around the league, but what he doesn't realize is that absolutely no one would care if the Pro Bowl died.
The players, who earn money for appearing in the Pro Bowl, might be upset that they no longer get an expenses-paid trip to Hawaii, but fans certainly won't care that a poorly played game of two-hand touch football won't be played in 2013.