The Associated Press has learned that the NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with week-long skill competitions and a game of flag football.
The new event will replace the full contact show that began in 1951. It will be renamed the “Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players displaying their soccer and non-football skills in challenges over several days. The 2023 Games will be held in Las Vegas, and the football match will be held at Allegiant Stadium on February 5.
Peyton Manning and his company Omaha Productions will help shape programming and promote event content throughout the week. Manning, who was selected 14 times to the Pro Bowl during his Hall of Fame career, will give his view and will also be part of the coaching staff for the flag game.
“The Pro Bowl is something we’ve been looking for for a while, and we really continue to evolve,” NFL CEO Peter O’Reilly told the Associated Press. “Having come out of last year’s game, we really made the decision based on a lot of internal conversations, getting feedback from GM managers and coaches, getting a lot of feedback from players. We think there’s a real opportunity to do something completely different here and move away from a ball game In traditional football, we decided the goal was to celebrate 88 of the biggest stars in the NFL in a positive, fun and competitive way.
“The feedback was very direct from the players who were in the Pro Bowl recently is to keep up the style of the week, make sure you have that multi-day element. It has been hugely positive from the players as well as from the clubs.”
The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to various cities from 1972 to 1980. It hosted Hawaii from 1980 to 2009, and the game has had many homes in the years since. Including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.
The quality of play in the Pro Bowl has often been criticized. Players, understandably concerned about getting hurt, treat it more as an exhibition than a competition. Flag football can increase competition while avoiding potential injuries from interference, blocking and hitting.
The NFL has a huge interest in football. The league has partnered with FIFA to bring football back to the World Games in July with a focus on the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
“You can leverage all the feel-good things about Pro Bowl week, the skills, the helmets, the engagement, and then culminate that, while maintaining the AFC-NFC structure, into something really important, which is sponsor football and that opportunity,” said O’Reilly, Vice President Chief Executive Officer of the League, Club Business and League Events: “We have the best athletes in the NFL playing this game that has a lot to do with the future of our sport.” “It was an evolution, but with us out of Las Vegas last year we were really focused on how to reinvent our stars and celebrate them better.”
The league plans to announce the new formula Monday.
“The Pro Bowl has always been a time to kick back and celebrate a game of football with his teammates, fans and family,” Manning told The Associated Press. “I am grateful that I can continue to be a part of the week as we all at Omaha Productions work with the NFL to reimagine the Pro Bowl games. Making Sunday’s game a great football game is great to see. Youth football has been so important to me And knowing that NFL FLAG will help grow the sport, I hope the boys and girls see themselves playing the same game as the best players in the world.”
Fan voting will still help determine the AFC and NFC team rosters. Tom Brady He has the most invitations to the Pro Bowl with 15. Four players have received 14 invitations, including Manning. The East-West Shrine Bowl will be held at Allegiant Stadium on February 2.
In 1999, rookie Patriots player Robert Edwards suffered knee ligament damage and an artery tear in his left leg while playing a beach flag football game with the NFL during Pro Bowl week. He missed the 1999 and 2000 seasons entirely during knee rehabilitation.
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