The NFL announced a major change to the Pro Bowl over the weekend, and at least one Hall of Famer is in favor of it.
Jackie Slater, who made seven Pro Bowls during a decorated 20-year career with the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that he supports the NFL moving away from the traditional Pro Bowl and replacing it with a flag football game and series of challenge competitions.
"I think it’s absolutely overdue," Slater said. "It was a disgraceful display of our sport for a number of years and fortunately it wasn’t a disgrace when I was playing. When I was playing this game, you showed up as an offensive lineman you didn’t have no fun all week long because you had to deal with Howie Long, Mark Gastineau, you had to deal with Reggie White, you had to deal with Warren Sapp. You had to deal with these guys. You had to deal with John Randle.
"You had to deal with these guys, man. And these guys if they beat you twice, they got the MVP award – which (at the time) was a new car. I don’t think you have to work as hard for a new car nowadays."
To say the Pro Bowl has lost its luster over the years would be a massive understatement.
Interest in the game has dwindled, and the effort of the players participating has plummeted in recent years, even for an exhibition contest. For these reasons, Slater says the change in format was "overdue."
"But if you’re gonna have a Pro Bowl game, no holds can be barred," Slater said. "You’ve got to play the game and there’s too many incentives out there for everybody right now not to have the game. So, it’s probably long overdue. It probably was a bad taste in fans’ mouths for quite a while by watching that terrible display."
The 2023 Pro Bowl Games will be held in Las Vegas in early February, culminating with a flag football game on Sunday, February 5.