The Pro Bowl was on life support. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated as recently as last October that he was leaning toward eliminating the game if the players couldn't find a way to make it more exciting for fans.
Goodell first hinted in May that he was intrigued by the idea of the two Pro Bowl teams being drafted by captains. The league and NFL Players Association found a way to tie that idea to the growing popularity of fantasy football, allowing two NFL.com fantasy champions to join forces with Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders in drafting players for the Pro Bowl.
NFC 62, AFC 35Check out the best photos from the 2013 Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii .
While we salute the NFL and the players' union for their creativity and willingness to think outside the box, we can't help but wonder if the new format fixes the most obvious problem with the Pro Bowl.
Football fans weren't tuning out because they were tired of seeing the NFC's best versus the AFC's best. They simply were offended by players going through the motions, making "business decisions" when it came to tackling and blocking in an exhibition game.
The new format might prove to be more popular, but will it motivate players to put forth the same effort that goes into a regular-season game? As Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com points out, 49ers pass rusher Aldon Smith will have a conflict of interest if the situation calls for a hit on San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
As far as the selection process goes, we just want to see the reaction of the last player picked when he's rendered to the mathlete level of sixth-grade dodgeball.