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NFL Network announces three-hour live show for “Pro Bowl Draft”

The NFL, which rules the land of television, has found yet another way to turn a relatively insignificant mechanism into a prime-time TV event. We've seen them do it with the annual schedule release program, which people swoon for despite the fact the matchups have actually been known for months, and they've recently created monster out of the annual Scouting Combine.

Now, with the Pro Bowl no longer being an AFC vs. NFC thing, the league has a new reason to invent a live TV spectacle. The NFL announced this week that the first-ever "Pro Bowl Draft" will take place on Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network. 

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Perfect. That's the Wednesday before Super Bowl week in New York/Jersey, and it's three days after the AFC and NFC championship games. It's literally the only semi-quiet point between those two periods.

Here's what we know:

* All 88 players will be in attendance. Captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will draft 44 each, obviously. Somewhat strangely, 22 of those 88 players will be drafted ahead of time (non-glamour guys, of course). Because I'm sure NFLN couldn't possibly have squeezed those extra picks into their three-hour program.

* The top two offensive vote getters and the top two defensive vote getters will be captains as well, working below Rice and Sanders, I suppose. Said captains can't be from teams that played in the conference championship. And as per usual, neither Super Bowl team will send players to Hawaii for the game. 

* The 86 Pro Bowlers (two long snappers will be named later) will be announced on Dec. 27. It goes without saying that said announcement will be aired live in NFL Network. 

I guess this means Pro Bowl practices won't start until Thursday, which is a bit odd. Then again, who cares?

This could turn into a debacle, especially if Deion picks all of his buddies and business associates instead of the players who might be best for his team. Then again, who cares? 

I am a bit intrigued. I laughed when I received the press release on this dog and pony show, but it might be kind of interesting to see how the teams pan out. And if these guys are mic'd up, it could make for an interesting behind-the-scenes viewing experience for fans. 

Ultimately, none of it matters because the Pro Bowl is unwatchable. At least in my opinion. Apparently 12.5 million of you disagree, so I'm sure this will draw a decent enough audience.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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