Players association pitches Pro Bowl draft

Published  7:13 PM HST Apr 05, 2013
Pro Bowl Tackle
HONOLULU -

How to spur excitement in an all-star game that's played at the end of the regular season? It's a question that had dogged NFL executives for the past several years, but an answer may be forthcoming as soon as 2014.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the NFL Players Association and league officials are both receptive to a Pro Bowl draft that could see two captains, or other parties, pick players for two teams. Consider an NFC captain like Mike Ditka, the legendary Chicago Bears coach, picking against an AFC captain like Dan Marino, the iconic Miami Dolphins quarterback.

"I think they would know more about players, and players' needs and what gets them motivated," said Pro Bowl fan Garth Spurrier of Laie.

Kasier High School head football coach Rich Miano, who played 11 NFL seasons with the Jets, Eagles and Falcons, likes the idea of a Pro Bowl draft, saying it could be the winning game plan the Pro Bowl has been searching for.

"I think this is kind of a sexy thing to do, (and) I think it's the right thing to do to try to save this game," said Miano. "For the traditionalist, it may not sound exciting right away, but I think players will be very excited."

One possibility is that the annual Pro Bowl conference matchup will be done away with altogether. Imagine the AFC's Tom Brady throwing passes to the NFC's Larry Fitzgerald?  

"Think of some of the crossover potentials of a certain quarterback throwing to a certain receiver," said Miano. "Now all of a sudden, it has nothing to do with the AFC-NFC, it has to do with the way he was drafted, (and) whether they went to college together. There's going to be some things that are going to make this game, I think, much more interesting from an entertainment standpoint."

However, some longtime Pro Bowl fans like Ronald Mosley of Salt Lake, are still sitting on the 50-yard line. Mosley didn't shoot down the idea of an all-star draft when approached by KITV4, but wasn't exactly enthusiastic either.

"There are good advantages and bad advantages to it, you know, going back with the history of the game," said Mosley. "I kind of always want to see the NFC superstars versus the AFC superstars."

But with a Pro Bowl draft apparently gaining momentum within NFL circles, the idea could be implemented before the next all-star game at Aloha Stadium in January. La Canfora reported the NFLPA presented the proposal to owners two weeks ago at a league meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.

Just last month, the Hawaii Tourism Authority announced it had reached an agreement with the NFL to bring the Pro Bowl back to Oahu for at least another year at a cost of $4 million. 

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