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SBD/April 27, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Future Of Pro Bowl Relies On Bargaining, League Improving Quality Of Play
Published April 27, 2012
UP TO THE PLAYERS? ESPN.com's John Clayton wrote the future of the Pro Bowl beyond ’13 “looks bleak” and part of the league’s position on the matter “is bargaining.” Owners and league officials know most players selected to the Pro Bowl “enjoy using the game as a chance to vacation in Hawaii with family and friends.” But the game itself “has become a vacation from real football.” Clayton: “Only the players can save the Pro Bowl. If they do, it will continue.” But for it to continue, the NFLPA “must give the league assurances that fewer players will pull out of the game and provide a plan to improve the quality of play.” For their part, players “will probably ask that Hawaii be a permanent site.” But establishing Hawaii as a permanent site “may not be that easy.” Clayton: “Attendance has been poor. Revenues are down. Costs are higher.” And some government officials in Hawaii “seem unwilling to make the concessions the NFL is seeking.” Clayton wrote he thinks the league “will come up with a deal, but only if the players step up to save the game.” TV networks “still want it” and if the players "feel the same way, they can save it” (ESPN.com, 4/26). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote despite “decent TV ratings -- the NFL could hold a team breakfast and people would watch -- the game is a total dog and apparently the league is tired of trotting out a bad product.” It is “an impossible equation,” as players “simply don't want to risk getting hurt for a game that means zero, not even for a free trip to Hawaii” (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 4/26).
DON'T GO JUST YET: Bengals QB Andy Dalton said, “It’s something as a kid you watch and think you want to play in. Getting an opportunity this year it was a lot of fun. It kind of gives you a chance to relax and enjoy yourself and you get to be around other guys that you aren’t around all the time” (CINCINNATI.com, 4/26).