The Pro Bowl, especially in recent years, has produced as much excitement and intrigue as watching somebody spackle your bathroom. But the NFL is reportedly considering shaking up the format to try to save the game.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, one suggestion for tweaking the all-star game, which is held between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, ripped a page out of the NHL's playbook.


The, in Rapoport's words, "intriguing option" is holding a draft when players arrive in Honolulu to determine who would play on each team. (In the current format, the AFC plays the NFC.) The NHL switched to this format a couple of years ago, naming two captains who go old-school to pick their teams like kids on a playground.

Kudos to the NFL for trying to think outside the box, but I'm not sure that is going to solve the problem. I am a huge hockey fan, but the draft concept doesn't really add anything for me. Apparently I'm not the only one who doesn't find it very appealing, as ratings for the NHL All-Star Game continue to be pretty unspectacular.

Two captains taking turns building a team from the best of the NFL's best sounds good in theory, especially to this avid fantasy football player. But once the captains start selecting guards, nose tackles and kickers, the appeal will quickly wear off, I'm guessing.

Still, it's something. The Pro Bowl can't get much worse.

The reality is that the game won't be interesting unless the players have something to play for. I won't rip a guy for not going all out in a meaningless exhibition when his contract is not fully guaranteed. And I'm not sure what the NFL can do to entice players to go all-out. But football doesn't produce the same kinds of oohs and aahs when players are going half speed and shying away from contact.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell thought the Pro Bowl was a little better this year, but still, its long-term future remains in doubt. I'm not sure a fantasy player draft would significantly improve the quality of the game itself, but I like where the NFL's heads are at.

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