When the MVP talks, people listen.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the first prominent member of the NFL community to speak out in February about the diminished quality of the Pro Bowl. Speaking on his ESPN 540 radio show, Rodgers said some players on the NFC team "embarrassed themselves" and either "didn't want to play or when they were in there didn't put any effort into it."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell agreed, and after several months of discussion it appears the league is having trouble finding a way to improve the game. So as ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Thursday morning, the Pro Bowl is likely to be suspended and might never be played again.
We spent some time in February coming up with suggestions. My favorite was some kind of contemporary skills competition/reality show between the NFL's best players. I would tune in to watch Rodgers and, say, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady compete to see who could eat more snails in 10 minutes, "Fear Factor" style. Wouldn't you?
But none of us really had any good ideas on improving the game itself. In an era of unprecedented safety concerns, it's unrealistic to expect players to play and hit each other harder, exposing themselves to injury, in a meaningless exhibition. My guess is Goodell is in the same spot. The Pro Bowl had been building to this point for years, and there's no turning back on its intensity level now.