The Pro Bowl defanged Joe Exotic


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HONOLULU, HI – SUNDAY, JANUARY 31: The Pro Bowl logo on a football during the second half of the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 31, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii.Team Irvin defeated Team Rice 49-27. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

“I’ve seen walkthroughs more intense than this” JJ Watt states when tweeting about previous Pro Bowls. The Pro Bowl has been losing TV ratings and public interest for over a decade. The players’ risk of injury trumped any monetary incentive that could have been compelling. The fact of the matter is that it does not matter who wins or loses; it makes no difference for the players involved. This led to a lack of player effort and motivation which made the Pro Bowl almost impossible to watch. This was reflected by the lack of viewership shown in the television ratings throughout the years. Based on public sentiment in 2020, people would have rather watched Tiger King starring Joe Exotic more than the Pro Bowl.

For this season’s Pro Bowl, to eliminate risk of injury and to generate more ratings, the committee decided to come up with skills challenges and the showcase event seven-on-seven flag football game. These skills challenges were scored using a point system that worked by adding points to your team total every time a skills challenge was won. Some of these challenges included dodgeball, longest drive, best catch, gridiron gauntlet, and precision passing. The Manning brothers were coaching against each other with Peyton coaching for the AFC and Eli coaching for the NFC, while Snoop Dogg and Ray Lewis added much interest to the game as they were mic’d up on the sidelines.

The added celebrities and skills challenges brought much more energy and excitement to the Pro Bowl than years past. This created a better entertainment value and made it so people actually wanted to watch. Viewership was way up because of the excitement brought not only for the players but also for the fans. Watching defensive players play offensive positions was captivating because they have completely different skill sets that can translate to either side of the ball.

Although the NFL Pro Bowl has beenĀ  a disgrace in years past, the league should be praised for turning something so horrendous into something people found enticing. The biggest change from last year to this year was that the players were having fun and the viewers loved to see it. The excitement surrounding this event was finally attained by humanizing the players and letting them show off their world class skills in multiple ways. The large gap in viewership between the Netflix series Tiger King and the NFL Pro Bowl has started to represent what America has been proven to love: football.