It is a joke? Of course it is. Nobody wants to miss their vacations recovering from an injury on a game, let alone start the season carrying something from it. But every year there are the stories of players networking, and the players in general enjoy it.
So, why not get rid of the game (even if this years game was actually enjoyable to watch), but still celebrate the league's best players, and allow them to meet in a less competitive environment? Create the Pro-Bowl weekend, one week after the SuperBowl, celebrating a season of football.
On Saturdays, host an NHL style drill competition (like the Madden training drills, for instance). Give the winners a free-pass to use orange cleats, hot neon pink mouthguard, whatever, during the season. Heck, I'd love to see Flacco, Rodgers and Cutler throwing balls upfield to see who has THE arm. Or Janikowski and Zuerlein trying to boot one from 70.
On Sunday afternoon, have another (or move the senior bowl) pre-draft game with seniors and eligible players. The top prospects get to meet the league's finest even before they're drafted. listen some tips, and create some connections before the wild months leading to the combine. Then, during the night, host the awards (Rookie awayds, OPOY, DPOY, Comeback, Walter Payton Man of the Year, MVP, etc) in the stadium. as well a family photo of the All-Pro team.
Everything said and done, this is a fine tradition. It might need some changes down the line, but ending it because it's not thrilling TV is too much.