The NFL announced the Pro Bowl would return in 2013, again to be played the week before the Super Bowl. After everyone agreed last year's NFL Pro Bowl was a joke, the league actually considered canceling the game for 2013. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell commented: "The issue is we recognize it is an all-star game, but we also believe fans expect more from an NFL game." I agree and think they need to make some serious changes, including moving the game to the middle of the season. I also think they need to either pay the players more or figure out another way to make the game more important to them.
The Pro Bowl is the NFL's all-star game, but instead of holding it in the middle of the season, as MLB does, they hold it after the season is over, a week before the Super Bowl. They also hold the game in Hawaii, one of the most beautiful, peaceful places on earth, and certainly more conducive to vacationing than battling on the gridiron.
Hawaii Pro Bowl history
The game was held in Hawaii from 1980-2009. The NFL then moved the game to the week before the Super Bowl and that year, 2010, moved it to Miami, where the Super Bowl was also held. They tried to create a whole week-long football festival, book-ended by the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl, all in the same place.
Boring game last year
Neither team seemed to care about the game. It meant nothing and there was no inspiration to win, only to not be injured. Although players are compensated (players on the winning team get $45,000), I think NFL stars make so much money, it's meaningless to them. The AFC, including Oakland Raiders interior lineman Richard Seymour, along with kicker Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechter beat the NFC 59-41. Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall dominated the offensive game, with a Pro Bowl-record four touchdown receptions.
Future Hawaiian developmental league?
The state will pay the league about $4.2 million to host the game and the state has discussed establishing a developmental league, like a baseball minor league, in Hawaii. The deal is a one year deal, with AP reporting the state is trying for a longer term deal, trying to get the game at least five times in seven years.
Are the players committed?
The NFL seems to think so, and I think we will see a better game this year. The player's union president commented about their commitment: "The players believe that the Pro Bowl is an important tradition, we worked hard with the league to make sure the best players in the NFL are honored for their achievements on the field."
Although born and raised with Eagles fans in Philadelphia, Freddy Sherman has always been a citizen of Raider Nation at heart. Since his dad got him a signed George Blanda football as child, to meeting Lyle Alzado in the 1980s, he hasn't looked back. Follow him on twitter @thefredsherman
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