Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has a suggestion for boosting interest in the Pro Bowl, the NFL’s All-Star showcase, which has long been considered the weakest of the four major professional sports. Players typically show minimal competitive effort, primarily out of injury concern. The exhibition occurs either after the season or during the week between the conference championships and Super Bowl, times when the interest in a non-competitive game is low.

The Pro Bowl has deteriorated to the point where it’s no longer a traditional football game. In its current form, the event features a flag football contest accompanied by various skills competitions. This format is unlikely to change, as players generally have little desire for a full-contact game that doesn’t count towards their season record and doesn’t offer regular-season pay. However, Burrow’s idea could generate more enthusiasm for Pro Bowl festivities.

Appearing on the “Pardon My Take” podcast, Burrow discussed the possibility of the NFL expanding to an 18-game season. He suggested that two bye weeks would be necessary. Expanding on this, he proposed that the first bye week be scheduled as it currently is, spread out among the 32 teams. The second bye week, however, would be the same for every team.

“Like Week 13, do the Pro Bowl break where you’re doing like the 7-on-7 and all the skills challenges, like the NBA does,” Burrow said. “I think that would get more ratings for the Pro Bowl and then it would also give everybody that bye week going into like the last six games”, told CBS Sports.

In addition to potentially boosting Pro Bowl interest, this expanded schedule with an extra game and bye week could push the Super Bowl to the Sunday before Presidents Day. This adjustment would mean that many fans could enjoy the day off after the big game, an idea that has been popular among fans and media for years.

Although players might not be thrilled about spending their week off at Pro Bowl festivities, many could skip the event in favor of a vacation or just some time away from football. Nonetheless, they would still receive a break from an actual game and have the opportunity to participate in fun activities that showcase their personalities.

A traditional game wouldn’t be reinstated, especially if scheduled during the season, but that’s likely a foregone conclusion among players. Instead, the focus could be on creativity and fun, allowing players to unwind and fans to see more of their favorite athletes off the field, building camaraderie among players.

What’s notable is that Burrow is considering the NFL’s interests, not just those of the players. Making the Pro Bowl more appealing to fans could benefit both sides. Placing the All-Star game in the middle of the season would provide more opportunities for broadcasts to promote the event and keep fans engaged with voting.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Burrow’s hypothetical is that he’s thinking strategically about the NFL’s future. His innovative approach suggests that he could be a strong candidate for NFL commissioner after his playing career ends.



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