Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pro Bowl Adding Dodgeball

The NFL will attempt to invigorate the Pro Bowl by adding a dodgeball game between their players.

No, this is not a joke.

This is real.

The league announced Monday they are adding a skills competition to what they are calling a “re-imagined” Pro Bowl week leading up to the actual Pro Bowl on 29 January. The skills or as it might be better said “skills” competition will take place three days before year-end exhibition game between the NFL’s all-stars and will be run by the producers of the TV shows American Ninja Warrior and Hell’s Kitchen.

While there is extreme potential to turn the Pro Bowl into a sideshow so absurd that the whole idea of an all-star game might be killed for good, the Pro Bowl has been something of a joke for some time. Played for most of its ignominious history in Hawaii, players treated the game and the week before it as a vacation, making the game something of a glorified flag football contest. So many players drop out each year, creating such a deep pool of replacements that the idea of being a Pro Bowler has been devalued in the last two decades.

The NFL has long struggled to find footing for the game, at times moving it to the mainland, playing it either a week before or a week after the Super Bowl and finally eliminating league designations in favor of two teams chosen pick-up style. None of these novelties have worked. The Pro Bowl has remained an afterthought for fans. Ratings have languished and the whole concept has seemed to be a farce. There was probably nothing else for the NFL to do than let reality TV producers take charge.

In addition to dodgeball, the “skills” competition will feature relay races, a game in which players will throw balls at moving targets and a best hands contest. The league said the night will include “quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linemen, linebackers and defensive backs”, presumably eliminating kickers and punters.

by Les Carpenter, The Guardian |  Read more:
Image: 20th Century Fox/Everett/REX features