The existence of the Pro Bowl as we know it is in peril.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday morning that the NFL has "been in discussions with the union about the future of the Pro Bowl. No determination has been made yet about this season's game."
That statement came on the heels of an ESPN report that the league is "moving toward" canceling the game as soon as this year. The cancellation was deemed "likely." Teams would reportedly still honor Pro Bowl incentives in order to avoid a conflict with the NFL Players Association.
Domonique Foxworth, president of the NFLPA, isn't ready to give up on the game just yet, however.
"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," he wrote Thursday on Twitter.
Just last week, Around the League passed along comments from NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash about the Pro Bowl. The league and union discussed the issue in their meeting on April 16. Pash said the two sides were in agreement that the quality of last year's game was unacceptable. Pash mentioned possible ways to improve the game, including insurance for players, rule changes, and changing the payout amounts.
Pash did not mention canceling the game at the time, but Commissioner Roger Goodell did mention the possibility earlier this offseason. It's becoming clearer that the league sees getting rid of the game entirely as a realistic option.
While the Pro Bowl gets good ratings, we wouldn't miss the game. Most fans would agree.