By Alex Baynham
We have finally reached the weekend everyone hates. It is the weekend between Championship Sunday and the Super Bowl and all we have to watch during it is the NFL Pro Bowl game and the NHL All Star Weekend. One of the two is an exciting event the players enjoy attending and the fans the enjoy watching. The other is the NFL Pro Bowl. Here is what could make the event all of the NFL’s biggest stars go to better instead of being in the NHL’s shadow.
Make The Skills Showdown More Interesting
The NHL All Star Weekend is fun to watch because of the skills competition. All of the top players in the league are trying to skate their fastest, pull out their best moves in shootouts, showcase their unreal puck handling and passing skills, rocket pucks as fast as they can, and snipe as many targets as possible. This year they are even adding an event where players shoot the puck into a tiny goal from the stands.
The NFL should take a page out of the NHL’s book and put on a skills challenge. The players love it because it adds a sense of friendly competition. Offer a little reward to the winners that the NFL will match and give towards a charity will increase the competitiveness.
The NFL has already started to implement this with tic-tac-toe kicking competition, best-hands, dodgeball, precision passing, Thread the Needle and Gridiron Gauntlet (a relay race) competitions. These competitions are, to say the least, present.
What would improve the quality of the Skills Showdown is a forty-yard dash competition, one-on-one duals between the best wide receivers and defensive backs, a longest throw and field goal competition between opposing quarterbacks and kickers, and a fastest thrower. The NFL should also get rid of the dodgeball and Thread the Needle Competitions. Every competition should have one player compete whose position does not normally perform said task. For instance, the kickers will compete in the longest field goal competition but one lineman from each conference has to compete as well. They have already done this with Precision Passing.
Switch to 9-on-9 or 7-on-7
An issue with the NFL Pro Bowl is the lack of trying the players show. It makes sense; the game serves no purpose towards their contract, individual, and team concerns. Why get injured if the game does not matter? So why have a total of twenty-two players on the field if more than half of them are not going to try?
Simplifying the game to smaller numbers would open up the field to more exciting plays the Pro Bowl is trying to create. What is even better this would mask the lack of effort a lot of players would be showing.
Get The Fans More Involved
Finally, making the fans feel as if they are important is essential to gaining viewership and approval ratings. They could do this by having the fans be obstacles during the Gridiron Gauntlet relay race.
Even better, they could compete alongside the NFL stars so viewers could see just how good these athletes really are by comparing them to an average human. This would greatly increase the interest in the Pro Bowl.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org