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Sunday, March 27, 2005 

Pro Bowl Blues

As I've stated before, I have no interest in the Pro Bowl. But at the NFL meetings this week, an innovative proposal was floated. Miami wants to become part of a permanent Super Bowl rotation, and is willing to build a pavillion at Pro Player Stadium and host an NFL-styled theme park for the two weeks leading up to the big game. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stated that it would create a two-week "festival of football", and that the Pro Bowl would be played at the same stadium the week before the Super Bowl. A couple of thoughts come to mind:

1. The Pro Bowl trip to Hawaii must be losing its appeal to the league's high rollers and advertisers. After two weeks of partying at the Super Bowl, maybe none of them are game for a long flight.

2. This plan could also turn the Pro Bowl into a Super Bowl preview show if the NFL awarded the TV rights to the same network. None of the players from the AFC and NFC championship teams would play (they seldom play in Hawaii anyway), but I'm sure the league would mandate that the teams arrive in time to take part in interviews during the game. On a weekend where NFL fans are starved for football, it has the potential to increase ratings (though that might not be saying much). NBC already counter-programs on that weekend with the opening of the Arena Football season in an attempt to lure in casual football fans. An enhanced Pro Bowl can't be worse, and the game would lose its anti-climatic feel.

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