By: ZACHARY JONES / STAFF REPORTER
The NFL Pro Bowl brings out the best players of the league through a variety of competitions.
Recently the NFL, began to challenge players by making the event more than just the best guys playing the best guys. In recent years, they brought back fun events like quarterback accuracy challenges, wide receiver catching challenges, dodgeball games, and more.
The NFL has now announced the end of a traditional Pro Bowl game all together.
What are the changes exactly though?Well, the changes to the Pro Bowl are a move away from the contact aspect of the game by doing a flag football game instead.
The NFL hopes this will attract more player participation and make it more enjoyable for all audiences. They also keep the ideas of challenges and skills games, but make them more versatilee with both football and non-football ideas. This will help to build players' brands as well as it just being fun and entertaining. It could help to transition a younger generation to watch games and be introduced to star players as well.
Many are asking why they are scrapping the actual football game of the Pro Bowl. Well, the NFL has battled with a lack of participation, dwindling numbers, and potential audience changes with the addition of the Pro Bowl being played on Disney XD.
Players simply do not want to take the risk of playing in the hard contact game, which in some years has seen dangerous hits like the late Sean Taylor's hit on punter Brian Moorman that took the special teams player off his feet
A drastic change in the recent years that makes the changes suitable are the numbers.
The most recent NFL Pro Bowl saw an average of 6.69 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, and Disney XD. These are some of the worst numbers of this century.
This comes in an age where the NFL and its athletes are more accessible than ever. The numbers reflect the need for a change. Especially when other sports all star games are taking over or getting close numbers wise. The MLB all star game overtook the NFL in viewership and the NBA is narrowly behind.
One recent change we’ve seen in media rights and broadcasting is Disney wanting to get their brand more involved with the NFL coming near similar to how Nickelodeon has in the past.
These audiences brought in from these children-catered channels would probably cater better to a more fun challenge and skill based event rather than the actual game itself.
For the older audiences it still does all the same things, but could also potentially give nostalgic value. For example, competitions like the on the mark quarterback challenge, which was played as early as 1990, could make a return, or the strongest man competition where players like Larry Allen went out and benched ridiculous numbers.
Events like this would make the game more entertaining especially with athletes today.
Imagine seeing Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen duel it out on who could throw the ball the furthest, or guys like Nick Chubb and Saquon Barkley in a squat competition. This change could simply be better for all fans' experience without the risk to the players.