Thursday, April 26, 2012
Well, It Looks Like The NFL Is Getting Rid OF The NFL Pro Bowl
Many players who will be selected during this week's NFL draft are regarded as future Pro Bowl selections, but the game itself likely will be suspended this season and beyond, according to league sources.
Beyond 2013, another league source believes the Pro Bowl is "DOA (dead on arrival)."
The next Pro Bowl is scheduled the week before the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 3, but a game site has not been listed because of its precarious status, sources added.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has previously voiced his displeasure with the lack of competitiveness of recent Pro Bowl games, remains in serious dialogue with the NFL Players Association about suspending this year's game, sources say. Goodell cannot unilaterally suspend the game without the union's approval.
In response to ESPN's report, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press on Thursday that "no determination has been made yet about this season's game."
If the game is suspended, the league still would have a Pro Bowl balloting process to identify the season's top players and would direct teams to remain open to negotiating Pro Bowl clauses into player contracts and to honor Pro Bowl incentive clauses to avoid any serious conflict with the players association. Those players also likely would be honored in some fashion during Super Bowl week.
Goodell has asked NFL players recently for suggestions to make the game more attractive but neither side has embraced an alternative solution, sources said. The diminished quality of the game has weighed more heavily on the commissioner, who believes it reflects poorly on the league and its players. Sources say he does not hold any ill will toward the players' lackluster effort because of player health and safety issues.
Goodell said in February that eliminating the game was under consideration. In an appearance on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" on Super Bowl Sunday, he said the league must address the quality of the game and even said he would consider eliminating it if it can't be improved upon.
The AFC routed the NFC 59-41 in last season's Pro Bowl, which drew boos at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu for its lack of early intensity.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had said that some of his NFC teammates "embarrassed themselves" with the effort they gave in the game.