It’s the football equivalent of an Adam Sandler movie. (His recent work, not the enjoyably gonzo earlier stuff.) Everyone knows it’ll be unwatchable, but there’s still a loyal audience out there willing to take a chance on it. Just in case, against all odds, this one time it turns out to be good.

And so, my friends, our suffering must continue.

After receiving a promise from players that the game will be more competitive, the NFL will hold the Pro Bowl Jan. 27 in Honolulu, a week before the Super Bowl…

“The players have made it clear through the NFL Players Association that they would like the opportunity to continue to play the Pro Bowl in Hawaii,” NFL executive vice president Ray Anderson said. “We look forward to working with the players toward the goal of improving the competitiveness of this season’s game.”

Evidently the winners’ share next year will increase by only $3,000 so it’s not money that’s driving this. Could be that some players want a free trip to Hawaii even though they’re more than able to pay their own way, but in that case the league could just treat them to a vacation as a reward for being named All-Pro instead of forcing them to play.

Here’s the closest thing I can find to an honest-to-goodness reason:

News of the Pro Bowl’s return was met with praise by Hawaii tourism officials and Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Both Abercrombie and Mike McCartney, chief executive of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, hinted the state plans to deepen its ties to the league by helping it establish relationships in Asia — a continent with several major markets for tourism to the Aloha State.

“Beyond Hawaii’s shores, we look forward to assisting the NFL in expanding upon their relationships in Japan, and help them to establish a presence in China — both important markets for Hawaii tourism,” McCartney said.

Why would the NFL need Hawaii’s help to extend its brand to China? It’s easily the most valuable professional sports brand in America, aiming for $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027. They can leverage that to build Chinese partnerships without needing Neil Abercrombie or whoever as a go-between. But if that’s not the reason to play the game next year, what is? Who on earth wants this dreck to continue?

Exit question: If they played the Pro Bowl without helmets, would that make it safer?

Tags: football NFL