For decades fans have been clamoring for a change to the NFL All-Star game, the Pro Bowl. The many flaws regarding who is chosen, who plays, and attempts to give the game meaning, have produced little until Wednesday’s announcement. The NFL Pro Bowl will become fantasy football’s ultimate contest.
In a format agreed to by the NFL and the NFLPA, the entire format of the game will change. They want to create the ‘ultimate fan-friendly fantasy football game.’
The teams will not represent the AFC or NFC. Two alumni captains, Jerry Rice, and Deion Sanders, will select players in the form of a draft from all players selected. Players may be chosen from any division, any conference. The Pro Football Draft will be held on Wednesday, January 22nd, televised by the NFL channel. The game will be played on Sunday, January 26th, and will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
Other changes have been adopted as well.
The first and third quarters will contain a two minute warning. At the end of a quarter, the ball will change hands. The goal is to increase the number of two minute drills, a part of the game fans have voiced to surveys that they especially enjoy.
Kickoffs will be eliminated. The coin toss will decide which team has first possession. The offensive teams will begin from the 25 yard line. The ball will change hands at the start of each quarter, and after scoring plays.
Each team will continue to have a 43 man roster. The ‘kick-return specialist’ will be replaced by an additional defensive back.
In the past, only man-on-man pass coverage was allowed, except for goal line situations. Now ‘cover two’ and ‘press’ coverage will be allowed.
The two minute mark of each quarter will see changes in when the clock stops. If the offense loses yardage, or fails to gain at least one yard, the clock will be stopped as if the play were an incomplete pass.
The clock will start after an incomplete pass at the sign of the referee, with the exception of the last two minutes of the first half, and the last five of the game.
The play clock will be shorted to 35 seconds from the regular season 40.
Finally the game clock will not stop after a quarterback sack outside of the final two minutes of the game.
Changes were desperately needed. I’m sure the first time this new format is used, many more fans will watch the game.
Of course, if your favorite player is in the Super Bowl, you will still not have a chance to see him in the Pro Bowl. And several players may opt out because of injuries they incurred during the season.
The NFL and the NFLPA are making an attempt to make the Pro Bowl the ultimate fantasy football contest.
Alfred James reporting