by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)
Two weeks into the preseason and I’ve already watch more sports over the last two weeks than I did almost all summer. The games are meaningless and might not even feature everyone’s favorite teams, yet millions are tuning in to see whatever game their local cable provider decided to air because, let’s be honest, it is football. But what would happen if the NFL put a real game of significance in the preseason? Or a game that assured fans that their favorite team would get air time? The fans would go absolutely nuts. The solution I have (if the title of this post didn’t give it away already) MOVE THE PRO BOWL TO THE BEGINNING OF THE NFL PRESEASON!
- Hype is the league’s friend, not enemy – People can’t wait for football by the time August comes around. What better way to kick off the preseason then having all the best players in the world on nation television? Fans would get to see all their favorite players from last season in one place, and players that retired in the off season can partake in one last game.When you put the Pro Bowl one week before or after the Super Bowl, people have already used up all their energy on the season, and are sick of football already. All they can think about is the Super Bowl, and the rest is just a hassle. Nobody wants too see the players that let them down all season one last time, they want the main event.
- The Hall Of Fame Game is a joke – Besides the fact that no body even remembers that the game exist until they see the meaningless highlights on Sports Center, why would the league have a preseason game between two random teams of no significance one week before the actual preseason? Instead, the NFL should air a game with actual future hall of famers for hall of fame weekend. The Pro Bowl would be a perfect fit, would generate a lot more attention, and wouldn’t force two teams to open camp early or play a game before they’re totally prepared.
- The Super Bowl contenders can participate – They’re probably the best players in the league, and it’s ridiculous to think an all-star game wouldn’t feature the world champions or runner-ups. But that’s what the league has been settling for the past few years.
- The Pro Bowl is actually less taxing than a preseason game – Nobody tries during the game so there’s little to no injury risk, and it’s a great ways for players to see game action, test their skills against different schemes, and learn new things from other players before the season actually starts. I think coaches would actually be for this idea, not against it.
- Is there a better way to introduce the top rookie prospects? – Obviously you don’t want them playing in the game because they haven’t earned the honor yet. But who say’s you can have a futures game like in baseball, a 5 on 5 game, some sort of skills competitions where they compete with the pros, or better yet, the retired hall of fame inductees? Fans what to see what their new weapons can do, and this is a great way to introduce them to the league.
The league is missing out on a golden opportunity here. The Pro Bowl should be a moneymaking machine, not a burden that needs to be eliminated. This is a really an easy fix.