I used to make an argument that fans would prefer to see media members, former players and coaches debate the selections for the Pro Bowl than watch the Pro Bowl itself. But since the Pro Bowl has outperformed the World Series in the ratings for the second consecutive year, I'll admit I may have been wrong. There is an undeniable fact about the yearly game in Hawaii that does not receive much media attention: people watch it. A lot of people watch it.
This week I had an idea. Is it a bizarre idea? Yes. It is an unlikely idea to ever be adopted by the NFL? Without question. But would it make for one hell of an interesting football Sunday? I think so.
I would combine the Senior Bowl and the Pro Bowl. Here are a bunch of thoughts on the subject, including identifying some definitive pratfalls.
- Pro Bowl selections would no longer be divided into separate conferences. This isn't baseball. There are not different rules and there's no reason for 6-8 corners to be selected to an all-star event. It would elevate the Pro Bowl's status to that of an All Pro team.
- Since most of the actual Senior Bowl evaluations take place during practice sessions, the structure of those practice sessions would remain the same. College players won't be judged unfairly by how they fare against professionals.
- On the Sunday before the Super Bowl the Senior Bowl team would play the Pro Bowl team. How much fun would it be to see the best senior defensive end battle Ryan Clady? How much fun would it be see Ryan Glennon attempt to complete passes on Charles Tillman? Wouldn't we know more about Eric Fisher after watching him battle with Julius Peppers? Would the Senior Bowl side have a shot to win the game? No! But one or two of those players would stand out in the contest and think about how much money they could make.
- Wouldn't this add intensity to the proceedings? Wouldn't the Senior Bowl players do everything in their power to impress not only the sideline scouts but also the players opposite them? Wouldn't the professional players go out onto the field with the ambition of showing these kids what they're about to encounter?
- I would not be opposed to allowing non-seniors into the game. If a player declares early for the NFL Draft they should be allowed to participate in the game if they are deemed worthy. But the folks selecting the Senior Bowl team must be as rigid and meticulous as the Pro Bowl selection squad. It must be the the best of college football.
Is this idea silly? Sure. But it's Super Bowl week. I'm allowed. And I can unabashedly say there is no chance in hell I would miss this game were they to actually play it.
(I say you help me in the comments and we'll form this into a more coherent concept.)