In a desperate attempt to make their all-star event relevant, last year the National Football League moved the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl and even displaced it from Hawaii. Reviews of the change were generally unfavorable, as the game was still played at half the speed as normal, but the NFL did get the ratings boost it was looking for.
So what's the next gimmick the NFL will try in order to boost Pro Bowl ratings?
At the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl, the league will prop up two computers at each sideline and encourage players to log on to Twitter and tweet out during the middle of the game. This is the same league that consistently fines players for excessive celebrations and typically upholds strict Twitter policies.
No matter, the league is encouraging players to tweet to fans, teammates and opponents during commercial breaks or while standing around on the sideline during the 2012 Pro Bowl. Mobile phones will not be allowed to be brought to the sidelines, an offense for which they once fined New England Patriots wide-receiver Chad Ochocinco $25,000. The two standing computers that will be provided mean that only one player per team will be allowed to tweet during the game. Players will be able to use their mobile phones during halftime as well as before and after the game.
This is an innovative way to further engage our fans who have an insatiable appetite for football, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. NFL players have been very active on social media and enjoying talking to fans. The nature of the Pro Bowl enables us to have players tweet during the game.
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If the game is anything like last year's, with almost no defense and dozens of Hail Marys, there's a good chance that not even Twitter will be able to save it -- at least from the diehard fan's perspective.