What will new NFL Pro Bowl Games consist of?
The Pro Bowl has long been one of the most criticized events in the NFL. Now the league is set to transform the event with skills tests and a game of Flag Football.
The Pro Bowl as we know it is about to end. The NFL has announced it will completely transform the event, which starred the best players of the American Conference and the National Conference, after a drop in public interest and diminishing audience in recent years.
In an attempt to reconnect with public, the league decided to replace the Pro Bowl game with a skills contest in which players from the AFC and NFC show off their football dexterity in a range of disciplines, in addition to a game of Flag Football, AP’s Rob Maaddi reports.
Also today, it was announced that Peyton Manning and his company Omaha Productions will help shape the programming and will promote the content of the event throughout the week. The event is set to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada on 5 February 2023.
Why is the Pro Bowl being transformed?
NFL executive Peter O’Reilly revealed some of the reasons for making changes to the event which will be called The Pro Bowl Games - which is about the players having fun but without losing a competitive focus. In recent editions of the Pro Bowl, players have been concerned about getting injured and have tended to treat it more as an exhibition game more than competition.
“The Pro Bowl is something we’ve been looking at for a while, it’s really still evolving. After last year’s game, we really made the decision based on a lot of internal conversations, getting feedback from general managers and coaches, getting a lot of feedback from players,” O’Reilly told The Associated Press. “We think there is a real opportunity to do something completely different here and move away from the traditional game of football. We decided the goal is to celebrate 88 of the NFL’s biggest stars in a really positive, fun and competitive way.”
Players’ football and non-football skills will be put to the test in a variety of challenges held over several days. Flag Football is non-contact - that includes tackling, diving, blocking, and screening. Instead, players wear flags that hang along their sides by a belt. To “tackle” the person in possession of the ball, the opposing team needs to pull one or both of their flags off.