On October 14, 2020 the NFL announced that they would be cancelling the NFL Pro Bowl game. For the first time since 1949 there will not be a Pro Bowl game to end the NFL Season. There had been talks in the past about doing away with the game all together.
With the game taking place a week before the Super Bowl a lot of players were opting out of the game. The Pro Bowl has not been the most exciting thing to watch when it comes to the NFL. Reasons why the game itself is not very competitive could be because it doesn't have a meaning to it.
The NFL Pro Bowl winner just basically gets bragging rights until the next year's game is played. If the NFL added an incentive to the game and excluded players who are playing in the Super Bowl, it would have more meaning. In baseball their all-star game winner receives home field for the World Series.
This works for baseball because they have a seven game series, where as in football it is just the Super Bowl and it is already predetermined where it will take place. It is hard for the NFL to come up with a way to make the game more intriguing to the audience. With the game being cancelled this year, the NFL has moved to a virtual Pro Bowl game through Madden NFL 21.
With all that being said, the question still arises on why the NFL decided to cancel the Pro Bowl game all together?
Pro Bowl Game is Cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
With the COVID-19 pandemic taking the NFL by storm during the 2020-2021 NFL Season, commissioner Roger Goodell did not feel that it was safe to have the players play in the Pro Bowl game in Las Vegas. This game would bring all the top stars that were selected together.
The risk was a lot higher than the reward when it came to the Pro Bowl game itself. With numerous players being around one another and having to self quarantine for 14 days before the game it was just a lot to ask. Players have been through the ringer just to make it through the NFL Season in 2020.
Instead of having the game physically, the NFL has gone virtual and will play the game on EA Sports Madden NFL 21. Both the AFC and NFC will be represented by two current NFL players, one legend, and one celebrity to play each quarter of the game. This could bring in a lot of viewers with EA Sports Madden NFL 21 being such a popular game.
It will be interesting to see how the ratings do for the virtual style Pro Bowl and if it is something that the NFL will continue to do to bring life back into the failing all-star game. The virtual Pro Bowl game will kick off at 5PM EST on the EA Madden NFL 21 Twitch Channel.