NFL To Suspend The Pro Bowl

 
on April 26 2012 10:18 AM
The NFL could announce the end of the Pro Bowl as soon as this week.
The NFL could announce the end of the Pro Bowl as soon as this week. REUTERS

The National Football League plans to suspend the Pro Bowl sometime in the next few days, according to ESPN.

Sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is strongly considering suspending the game this season and for any future seasons. Although the Pro Bowl is still on the NFL calendar for the week before the Super Bowl, the location of the game is still TBA as the league makes a final decision.

Goodell has publicly expressed his displeasure with the past few Pro Bowls, citing a lack of competitiveness despite traditionally strong television ratings for the game; the 2012 game drew 13.5 million viewers.

During Super Bowl week, Goodell floated the idea of canceling the game in several interviews. There was little reaction from the fans or the media, which undoubtedly bolstered his ideas about eliminating the Pro Bowl.

In an attempt to keep the Pro Bowl relevant, the league moved it from the week after the Super Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl two years ago, but that didn't help to improve the quality of the game, and ensured that the players from the Super Bowl teams wouldn't be involved.

At the end of last season, Goodell asked the Players Association to send him suggestions on how the game could be made more attractive, but either he didn't get suggestions from them or he didn't like the suggestions that were sent.

In this season's Pro Bowl, the AFC trashed the NFC 59-41 in a game that drew boos from the crowd for its lack of intensity. Even NFC quarterback Aaron Rodgers questioned the effort of some of the players after the game.

Even if the league did eliminate the game, they would still have a Pro Bowl balloting process to select two teams. There are clauses in many NFL contracts that include bonuses for Pro Bowl selections and there would have to be a system in place to cover those clauses.

The modern Pro Bowl was first played in 1970 just after the merger between the AFL and the NFL that created the NFL we know today -- with its dual conferences, the AFC and NFC. But the game actually began in the 1951 season with a team from each of the NFL's divisions squaring off in Los Angeles.

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