The Pro Bowl is the redheaded stepchild of the NFL calendar. More exhibition than competition and taken seriously by almost no one, it still draws good ratings because it takes place the week after the conference championship games and a week before the Super Bowl. It's the halftime entertainment between actual football.
But the league hopes to make it more competitive, and it's willing to think outside the box to do so. NFL Network's Albert Breer spoke with a high-ranking NFL official Tuesday who outlined some possible changes.
* The game could be moving from Hawaii, with locations in other states possible.
* Instead of lump-sum compensation determined by winners and losers, payouts could be broken down by halves or even quarters to keep the game competitive throughout.
* Two-minute warnings could be added to the end of the first and third quarters, to, in Breer's words, "produce games within the game to create tangible rewards in making every play more important." There could also be rewards for big plays.
* There's a possibility that traditional AFC vs. NFC rosters could be replaced by a draft. The NFL is considering having captains from each side select the players, and the details, according to Breer, could include the opportunity to televise the draft, and to pick uniforms, team names and rules.
For now, the date of the game will remain the same, and the expectation is that some changes will be in place by the NFL's spring meeting in May.
"There's no sacred cow; expect to make sure that whatever the group pulls together, the competition committee has a chance to review that," said Breer's source. "We know what all the questions are. We don't have all the answers."
Still, the biggest issue remains: how to get players selected for the Pro Bowl to actually participate.