Have A Skills Competition

Dan Levy
Copyright 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009; 3:11 PM

I wouldn't watch the Pro Bowl if they played it in my backyard. It's boring. There's no blitzing, no scheming, no hard tackling. They should probably just play flag football and be done with it. And frankly, had it not been for the horrific flag-football injury to then-Patriots running back Robert Edwards, the game may have gone that way years ago. The first and only rule of the Pro Bowl is 'don't get hurt.' The risk for injury in other sports is far less than in football, so the other major sports can use the All-Star game to showcase their talents much more spectacularly. And because few if any players get hurt in the All-Star game, the other sports can have their showcases in the middle of the season. It's a perfect setup for long-season sports. Excitement at the start of the season. Excitement at the end of the season. And right when things start to get a little boring halfway through -- Slam Dunk Contest! Or Home Run Derby! Or Fastest Shot Competition. (Note, no exclamation point on that last one, eh?) Because of the risk of injury and the relatively short season (16 games rather than 82 or 162), the Pro Bowl has always been the week after the Super Bowl. That's like having Barack Obama give his Inaugural Address then following him up with someone reading a poem. Roger Goodell realizes that ending the season with the Pro Bowl is a tad anticlimactic. So the NFL has decided to move the game to the week before the Super Bowl. By doing that, the NFL has taken players from the four best teams (Super Bowl teams and Title Game losers) and eliminated any chance they'd compete. It will be an All-Star game without any of the best team's stars. More like a Some-Star game. And that's assuming those some stars will even play. Ray Lewis is already chirping about the fact that the Pro Bowl is only about the vacation the players get. Hawaii is nice this (and any) time of year. Why would players go to the Pro Bowl if it's in, gasp, Miami? Or Dallas? Who cares about the fans in those cities when the Pro Bowl has always been about relaxing on the Hawaiian beaches. Oh, and getting leid of course. The Pro Bowl can be saved one way and one way only. Get rid of it. Just get rid of the game, announce your teams with a press release -- much like the NFL already does with it's All-Pro team -- and reward each player with a trip to the Big Island to use in the off-season. Then, the Sunday before the Super Bowl, bring back the Skills Competition and show it live on national television. The skills would include: ??? 40-Yard Dash -- who really is the fastest man in the NFL? ??? Quarterback Distance Toss ??? Quarterback Accuracy Drill ??? Running Back Obstacle Course ??? Receiver Catching Competition ??? End zone Dance-off ??? Bench Press ??? Sled Push ??? Punt, Pass and Kick -- my money is on Tom Tupa ??? Distance Field Goal Kicking ??? Hot Dog Eating Contest Who wouldn't want to watch that? Mic all the players. Put it on live. Ratings Bonanza.

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