I love the NFL and most of what they create...however, the new format for the Pro Bowl will be a wipe out in Hawaii.
I was an All-Star in every sport I played and always took great pride in competing against my peers. I felt this way for a lot of reasons...but for some reasons I did not, and don't believe pro football players will respond (just see how many 49'ers balked at this game) are these:
First of all, to have two captains like Sanders and Rice pick teams, puts more prestige and power in their hands than that of the established conferences. Payton Manning just remarked how he took great pride in always being an AFC player. The conferences are very meaningful and to "un-conference" (if that is a word) demeans the merger and all interconference play. This isn't a pick-up game, or fantasy; these are gridiron and gladiator greats; this team pairing selection process totally disrespects the shield.
Furthermore, if competition and a competitive spirit was lacking in recent Pro Bowls; how much hard-hitting and inspired play will occur when teammates face each other? How hard can a Carolina player be expected to blast a fellow Panther; or a New England player tackle a fellow Patriot?
Worse than that; how do the coaches on defense, encourage sacking or tackling a QB who plays on his same given, regular-season team? How does an offense coach design a pick play to rub or knockout one his own regular-season DB's or backers? It's ludicrous.
I can safely predict this will be the least watched, least competitive and interesting game the NFL ever staged!
The only, the only, feasible strategy to improve play in this game; is some serious incentives. I have not thought it all through, but maybe it should involve some sort-of home field; maybe a tie-breaking procedure; or let's say the opening choice of the Super Bowl kick; and surely something financial. Give each player a car...I am sure auto companies will line-up to sponsor and participate; anything but this pick-up game. It could be a combination of many things; but if players and coaches have contract incentives during their careers and regular-season contracts; it can surely work for this game.
Don't forget Mr. Goodell and all you owners, coaches, and players your own mantra: "RESPECT THE SHIELD."
On a positive note: The Super Bowl in New York City, the New Babylon, is a very good idea and I predict will be the most watched Super Bowl ever. The publicity and talk all season and two-weeks long will earn the NFL more revenue in the long-term than they could ever imagine. Personally, I wouldn't have it there more than once every 10-years. In fact, the best thing the NFL can do regarding the "Big Game" is build, or work with a builder, or modify and/or customize a stadium in Los Angeles and play the game there every season until an expansion team is established there. The Super Bowl in essence would be a team there in the interim.
Believe me...I love the NFL and want to see the league continue to succeed and succeed!