The Pro Bowl will no longer be AFC verses NFC. Now there will be a captain for both teams that will select 43 players. It doesn’t even have to be half NFC and half AFC players.
So how do people get selected to be in the Pro Bowl? The two top vote getters will become captains for each team and select 43 players each. Those two captains will get help from Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, who know a little bit about what it takes to be a Pro Bowl player. Plus there will be two NFL.com fantasy football champions that will get to help out picking players for the two teams. The Pro Bowl draft will be held January 22nd next year, and the game will be played January 26th in Honolulu.
The league also took out kickoffs to limit the amount of possible injuries during the exhibition game. The ball will be placed at the 25 yard line at the beginning of the game and after a team scores. Now that there are no kickoffs in the game the kick return position will lose their spot in the Pro Bowl.
Josh Cribbs, who made a name for himself as a kickoff return threat was not too pleased with that rule change. He tweeted out, “I’m glad I made the pro bowl when I did doing what I love to do, and being the best at it.”
The Pro Bowl also will add two-minute warnings in the first and third quarters in addition to the traditional rule in the second and fourth quarters. Possession also will change hands after each quarter. The clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the game referee except during the two-minute warnings and the final five minutes of the game.
There will changes made for the game clock at the two-minute warning, with the clock stopping if the offense doesn’t gain at least 1 yard, in order to encourage offenses to try to gain yardage at the end of each quarter. Defenses will be allowed to play Cover 2 and press coverage even when teams are near the end zone.
The NFL Players Association president Domonique Foxworth spoke on the changes to the Pro Bowl. He said, “As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment. To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was “very receptive to the ideas that Domonique and the players put forth.” Goodell continued to say, “From there, our office worked closely with him in developing the concept. The players made it clear that they wanted to continue the Pro Bowl and were committed to making it better than ever. We think these changes will enhance the game for both fans and players.”