The NFL Pro Bowl has long been rumored to be coming to an end following yearly complaints about a lack of effort and meaning to football’s version of an All-Star game. However that changed today when the NFL announced changes to the format of the Pro Bowl that are designed to make it the ultimate fan experience.
For starters the game will no longer be a battle of the conferences. That may seem a little strange given that every major sports league uses the conference vs. conference format, however the league feels that this will be a positive change.
Instead of AFC vs. NFC for the Pro Bowl, the NFL has elected to let fans decide the teams. Teams will be selected by a Pro Bowl draft. The draft will be lead by the top two vote getters, as well as two NFL.com fantasy football league champions.
President of the NFL Player’s Association Domonique Foxworth designed the new format for the Pro Bowl, hoping to save the tradition of an All-Star game at season’s end.
“As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment,” Foxworth explained. “To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.”
Confident that with the help of Foxworth he has finally solved the problem of the NFL Pro Bowl, Commissioner Roger Goodell was pleased with the changes. “We were very receptive to the ideas that Domonique and the players put forth. 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.”
Although the biggest change is clearly the draft format instead of the previous AFC vs. NFC, many other changes were put in place that will make the game resemble something other than a typical NFL game.
For starters the kickoff has been eliminated, as well as the kick returner position on the roster. Teams instead will receive the ball at the 25 yard line after a change of possession.
The first and third quarters now will feature a two minute warning just like the second and fourth already do. This makes an exciting two minute drill happen twice as often.
Whether or not these changes will make the Pro Bowl exciting once again to NFL fans remains to be seen, but at least the league is making an effort to change what has been a terrible event lately. The effort level needs to increase if the game is to truly be saved and become an attraction to fans once again.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express