NFL Suspends Future Pro-Bowl Games
Sources tell ESPN.com that the annual game will likely be suspended this season and beyond. Another league source said that, beyond 2013, the Pro Bowl is “DOA (dead on arrival).”
As of press time, the next Pro Bowl is scheduled the week before the Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3 (2013), but a game site has not been listed because of its precarious status, sources added.
“No determination has been made yet about this season’s game,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press in response to ESPN’s report. “We have been in discussions with the union about the future of the Pro Bowl.”
Per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, the league must consult with the union on Pro Bowl matters, but also can unilaterally suspend the game.
“The Pro Bowl is an important tradition we are in talks with the league to improve and preserve the game for our players and fans,” wrote newly elected NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth Thursday (April 26), via Twitter.
ESPN says that if the game is suspended, the NFL still would have a Pro Bowl balloting process to identify the season’s top players, and would direct teams to remain open to negotiating Pro Bowl clauses into player contracts and to honor Pro Bowl incentive clauses to avoid any serious conflict with the players association.
Those players also likely would be honored in some fashion during Super Bowl week.
Viewership for the 2012 Pro Bowl dipped 8.1%, but still garners solid TV ratings and was still the highest-rated sports program of the weekend.