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How to Fix the Pro Bowl

8:35 AM, Jan 25, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
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Unlike you, I will be watching the Pro Bowl this weekend, albeit grudgingly.

Wilson American football

I’m not going to pretend it’s good football. I will watch because it’s the closest thing on television to pro football this weekend, and staring at a six month hiatus without any games makes me just desperate enough to tune in.

But the broadcast could be much better than it will be this weekend. While it’s impossible to ask the players to try harder (although borrowing a page from the Aztecs could do the trick) we could make the game look and feel more like a real NFL game without too much effort.

The first thing to do is change the uniforms. The blue and red jerseys of the past look nothing like a real NFL uniform and should be scrapped for throwback uniforms for two real NFL teams. We could rotate the teams (and the decades) each year to add a little variety. The Nike monstrosities about to be foisted upon us are a step in precisely the wrong direction, by the way.

The second change we need is to move the game to a real NFL stadium. The problem with playing the game at the Hula Bowl is that the stadium looks nothing like any of the stadiums we are currently accustomed to seeing. Also, because the game is halfway around the world it is played in the day even though it’s night when we’re watching. Games look much better at night—and I suspect I’m far from alone in finding it a bit jarring to watch a game played in daylight when it’s night outside.

Nothing looks right at a pro bowl game, from the leis announcers wear when doing interviews to the Hawaiian shirts on the sidelines to the half-empty stadium where no one’s paying much attention to the game.

And while I’m slagging the reporters, let’s keep the sideline interviews to a minimum this Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl broadcast always does a disproportionate amount of these interviews, presumably as a way to inject some interest into the game. It doesn’t work.

The game will always be mediocre, but if it bears a passing resemblance to actual NFL football, people will watch it. If we can’t improve the caliber of the game (and we can’t) let’s at least make the other aspects about the event resemble an actual NFL game so we can pay it half a mind while we read a book or eat dinner and convince ourselves we’re watching real football.

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