Joe Burrow suggests how to improve Pro Bowl if NFL goes to 18-game schedule


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has a suggestion for boosting interest in the Pro Bowl.

The NFL’s All-Star showcase is easily the worst of the four major professional sports. Players are barely interested in a competitive effort, largely fearing injury. The exhibition takes place either after the season or during the week between the conference championships and Super Bowl, when the appetite for a game that doesn’t count is low.

The Pro Bowl has been such a bad game that it’s not even a real game anymore. In its current form, the event is a flag football contest around which skills competitions are built.

That may not change. Players will likely never want a full-contact, all-out contest that won’t pay them like a regular-season game and doesn’t count toward anything. But Burrow’s idea could create more interest in Pro Bowl festivities.

Appearing on the “Pardon My Take” podcast, Burrow was asked how he felt about the NFL expanding to an 18-game season. There would have to be two bye weeks, Burrow responded. He expanded on that thought, proposing that the first bye week be a regular part of the schedule as it is now, spread out among the 32 teams. However, the second bye week 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.”

Another benefit of the expanded schedule with an additional game and bye week would be that the Super Bowl could be pushed to the Sunday before Presidents Day. With a holiday on that Monday, many fans would get the day after the big game off, something many fans and media have suggested for years.

Players might not be enthused about spending their week off with Pro Bowl festivities. Many might skip the event in favor of a vacation or just time away from football. But they would get a break from an actual game and get a chance to do something fun that lets them display their personalities.

A game wouldn’t be restored, especially if it was scheduled to take place during the season. But that is surely a foregone conclusion among players. Be creative, be fun. Let the players blow off some steam. Let fans see more of these guys with their helmets off and show their camaraderie with each other.

However, it’s notable that Burrow is thinking about the NFL’s interests and not just about the players. (Although when it comes to the Pro Bowl, perhaps making the event more of a draw for fans would benefit both sides.) Putting its All-Star game in the middle of the season would provide more opportunity for broadcasts to promote the event and keep fans engaged with voting.

Maybe the biggest takeaway from this hypothetical is that Burrow should be considered for NFL commissioner after his playing days are over.



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