Pro Bowl gets an overhaul
The sleepy-experience that is the NFL Pro Bowl is finally getting a much needed overhaul to help spice up the game.
The NFL and NFL Players Association announced changes to the Pro Bowl Wednesday, the most significant being the elimination of the traditional AFC vs NFC matchup. According to NFL.com, players will be selected regardless of conference (meaning there could be sic running backs from the NFC and none from the AFC) by fans, coaches and players, and will be drafted by two team captains – the two leading vote-getters. Two of NFL.com’s fantasy football champions, along with Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will also help to pick the rosters, according to USA Today.
The game itself will also undergoes some changes in an attempt to make the game more exciting than the usual pain-drying experience.
The tweaks, according to NFL.com:
Kickoffs:Kickoffs are eliminated; the first possession is determined by coin flip and the ball will be placed at the 25-yard line after each quarter and scoring play.
Two minute warnings: A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters to make the ends of those respective quarters more exciting. The ball will also change hands after each quarter.
Kick Returners: Kick returners will be replaced by an extra defensive back, meaning players like Jacoby Jones and Devin Hester likely won’t see another Pro Bowl selection.
Defense: Defenses can now play “cover two” and “press coverage.” In the past, only “man” coverage was permitted.
Clock Stoppage: The game clock will stop if the offense fails to gain a yard in the final two minutes of a quarter. Meaning if there is a completion for no gain, the clock will stop as if the pass were incomplete. This is to encourage teams to gain more yards in two-minute situations, thus making the game more interesting.
Game Timing: The game clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the referee except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.
Play Clock: There will be a 35 second/25 second play clock instead of the usual 40 second/25 second clock.
Sacks: The game clock will not stop on a sack outside of the final two minutes of the game. Currently, the game clock stops on a sack outside of the final two minutes in the second and fourth quarter.
Though it seems weird, the drafting aspect of the Pro Bowl is a fun change and will probably be well-received by fans (it’s worked out well for the NHL). It remains to be seen, however, if the rest of the changes can bring some excitement to the Pro Bowl. It’s all about the effort level of the players, and fans can’t be sure how these changes will get the players to bring some effort.