Looking For Fixes For The Pro Bowl

The professional football season is over. The Super Bowl was a big television hit and a wonderful game. The ratings were the best ever, and the halftime show with Madonna was a real crowd-pleaser.

The only blemish on professional football this season once the labor stoppage ended was the Pro Bowl.

It turned out to be more like a flag football game, but it served a purpose. It hyped the Super Bowl, honored some old-timers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the families of the all-pro teams enjoyed the Aloha State’s wonderful hospitality.

Only one problem: The crowd booed the game on occasion.

Why were they booing? The obvious reason is it wasn’t really a professional football game, it was a show.

Pro Bowl rules say no blitzing, different offense formation, no pass rush, and no one can try to block a punt or kick. Simply put, it looked a little like slowmotion football, with a lot of runners just sitting down.

The reason for all the special rules is not because the fear of injuries, as many have suggested. Injuries are part of the game. A better explanation is the game of football has become very complicated. There is no way the players can learn many plays, pass patterns and blocking assignments in a week.

Example: a simple play would be something like, “Red right, Oscar!” In simple terms, strong right, sweep right. Not very complicated but effective enough for a football show.

The suggestion by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that the game be changed or dropped so the fans would be more satisfied is a typical NFL negotiation tactic. If you don’t take it the way it is, we will ponder whether to maintain the game or drop it all together.

The truth of the matter is, it’s the players and their families who have something to say about where the game is played. They like Hawaii, and Hawaii likes them, so that should be the starting point for improving the game for the players and spectators.

It is often all about money, and sports agents have a big say in accepting a bid to play in the all-star game. Most of the players are a meal ticket for even the lowest of the agents.

Giving the fans what they want is a good beginning. Having the players put their motions into the discussion makes little sense because they want the honor, the glory and the money with the least amount of risk. I’m sure all the moneymakers will eventually make a deal. Everyone will be happy with the appropriate restrictions. The players have to realize they are very much like the former Roman gladiators, and they have to make their masters happy in the arena or find out how expendable yesterday’s heroes really are.

After all is said and done, with the price of tickets for a Pro Bowl, there’s nothing really so terrible about the fans booing to their hearts’ content, as long as they keep packing the stadium.