To help undecided Commissioner Goodell make the right choice, here are ideas for what the NFL can do in place of its annual impersonation of a feisty home economics class, aka “The Pro Bowl.”
The NFL will never hold this event midseason, as the other major sports do. Who cares anyway? Baseball, hockey and basketball give infinite opportunity for individual players to shine – football does not. That’s why Sydney Crosby can score four goals every night, but Adrian Peterson can’t run for 100 yards every weekend.
So, Commissioner, cancel the Pro Bowl, but keep the focus on the end of the season. Let fans vote for first and second teams for each conference. With special-team players, we’ll end up with roughly 100 Pro Bowl “ambassadors.”
Rather than lean on each other for 60 minutes in Hawaii, consider these options. Each one aims to address the flat-to-slightly falling attendance the NFL has struggled with over the past five seasons.
Super Bowl Fun
Go nuts with our favorite social media tactic – user-generated content. Let fans submit videos explaining why they should get to attend the Super Bowl with one of the 100 ambassadors. Each winner gets four tickets. The NFL films the interaction between Pro Bowlers and fans, selling the rights to HBO or Netflix (or whomever).
If what they say about social media is true, those 400 winners will Tweet and Facebook and Tumble and Stumble and Pinterest like banshees, propagating their message to roughly a trillion people (feel free to check our math).
Option 2 takes the good will path. Here, two players each are assigned to one of the 50 U.S. states. Again, fans submit videos, this time to win a “visit to your hometown” from Pro Bowler “X”.
Within that day is a four-hour exercise session, which bolsters the NFL’s focus on “PLAY 60” (in this case, PLAY 240). The Pro Bowlers could chase chubby kids around a running track for a couple of hours. If they have energy left, the kids will Tweet, etc., about how out of shape they are and recommend ways for a trillion other kids to lose about 30 pounds each.
Option 2 is an indirect method for attacking the NFL’s attendance issues. But think of it this way – if we don’t end child obesity, attendance will plummet in response to all the “0 to 0” final scores.