The Pro Bowl: In Need of Drastic Change
Unlike the recently revamped National Basketball Association and National Hockey League All-Star Games and the Major League Baseball All-Star game, which features the always-popular Home Run Derby, the National Football League’s (NFL) showcase of its best players, the Pro Bowl, has passed by unnoticed yet again.
Unlike the recently revamped National Basketball Association and National Hockey League All-Star Games and the Major League Baseball All-Star game, which features the always-popular Home Run Derby, the National Football League’s (NFL) showcase of its best players, the Pro Bowl, has passed by unnoticed yet again. The Pro Bowl is meant to bring the league’s best talent together to participate in competitions, to interact with the fans, and to show why each of these players represents the best of the NFL. However, in recent years, the Pro Bowl has become less competitive, causing a lack of interest from fans.
Although there are many different reasons for why the Pro Bowl has become what it is today, it all boils down to one principle: economics. In a league where the minimum salary is $480,000 a year, far from what the average Pro Bowl player makes, each player on the winning team receives an additional $64,000 to the yearly earnings. To put that in perspective, Andrew Luck, a quarterback in this year’s Pro Bowl, earns roughly $25 million dollars a year, meaning he received around 0.2 percent of his yearly income for winning the Pro Bowl. In a game that is so dangerous, this relatively insignificant amount of money would be unlikely to entice any Pro Bowl player.
With no significant incentive to win the game, the Pro Bowl has reached its current standard: a meaningless and tasteless game without a competitive edge. One possible solution that could be beneficial for players, fans, and the league itself would be to offer each player on the winning team a more significant amount of prize money, which could go to a charity of his choice.
Without any true incentive to play and win the Pro Bowl, players have no reason to put any serious effort into the game and create a competitive battle between the best football players in the world.
If the NFL were to give each player on the winning team $1 million for charity, it not only makes the organization improve its public image and appear more caring and charitable, but it also gives players an opportunity to cash in on major tax deductions, strengthening their financial futures in a league where longevity is far from certain. This will give players much more incentive to win the Pro Bowl, enough to play competitive and physical football that has been lacking in previous Pro Bowls. Similarly, the NFL has incentive to spend the extra money on the competition, as the league’s image will improve drastically in the eyes of fans who have stopped watching for various reasons, including the domestic violence and political upheaval surrounding the league.
Football is still a beloved sport in America, giving the league a very unique opportunity to use this game as a platform for social change in the many communities that its players come from. Without a drastic change to the manner in which players are compensated for winning the Pro Bowl, the league could find itself getting rid of the event all together. Simple economics are a guiding force in most aspects of the 21st century world. Without proper incentive, players have no reason to put in the effort required to win and entertain in the Pro Bowl. This solution is the optimal way for all parties to benefit from the Pro Bowl rather than letting the game pass every year without legitimate viewership and popularity.