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NFL Pro Bowl Reveals Format Changes, Takes One Step Closer to Retirement

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Aloha means goodbye

Aloha means goodbye

Let’s not pull punches. The NFL Pro Bowl is teetering on the edge of extinction…as it should be. Today, the NFL announced fairly significant changes to its format including the abandonment of the AFC vs. NFC tradition. Our reaction? One step closer to gone.

In all honesty, it’s been years since I’ve subjected myself to more than a few painful minutes of the NFL’s version of an All-Star game. It’s just completely unwatchable. The MLB and NBA All-Star games are miles ahead, and it will remain that way. Still, it’s intriguing to look at the laundry list that awaits the next installment of the NFL’s Pro Bowl, surely dubbed as “innovations” within the League’s halls. Check out just a few of the new-age highlights (all from the NFL’s official press release):

  • Players will be selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.
  • Players will be assigned to teams through the Pro Bowl Draft, in which two leading vote getters will join two NFL.com fantasy football champions — who will attend the Pro Bowl — to draft players. One of these champions will earn their spot as part of Lenovo’s Fantasy Coach of the Year program, which provides NFL.com fans a chance to be rewarded for their fantasy football skills. The other champion can compete for a Pro Bowl role by playing at NFL.com/fantasy.
  • Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will serve as alumni team captains, assisting the Pro Bowl team captains and fantasy football champions in the draft process.
  • Game within the Game — A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter. This will increase the opportunities for quarterbacks to direct “two-minute drills,” which are especially exciting for fans.
  • No Kickoffs — The coin toss will determine which team is awarded possession first. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays
  • Cover Two and Press Coverage — The defense will be permitted to play “cover two” and “press” coverage. In previous years, only “man” coverage was permitted, except for goal line situations.

In other words, this game is heading the flag football avenue its been driving down PLUS its demise i added bonus of going all media/commercial frenzy a la the Madden Cover vote. It’s a sign of the times. Fortunately, I don’t think even this Internet-addicted world will continue to support this event enough to make it feasible. So, perhaps I’ll tune in for a few minutes to check out this year’s edition…only if to witness the final nail in the coffin.

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