NFL replacing Pro Bowl with flag football game, other competitions


Say so long to the Pro Bowl and hello to “The Pro Bowl Games.”

The NFL is replacing its all-star exhibition with a flag football game and multi-day skills competition between AFC and NFC players, the league announced on Monday. Those other competitions include football and non-football challenges.

“The Pro Bowl is something that we’ve been looking at for a while, really continuing to evolve,” NFL executive Peter O’Reilly told The Associated Press, which was first to report the news. “Coming out of last year’s game, we really made the decision based on a lot of internal conversations, getting feedback from GMs and coaches, getting a lot of feedback from players. We think there’s a real opportunity to do something wholly different here and move away from the traditional tackle football game. We decided the goal is to celebrate 88 of the biggest stars in the NFL in a really positive, fun, yet competitive way.”

Peyton Manning and his Omaha Productions Company will play a role in shaping and promoting the new format. The Hall of Famer and current ESPN broadcaster will also coach one of the conferences in the flag football game.

“Making Sunday’s game a flag football game is great to see,” Manning told the AP. “Youth football has been extremely important to me, and knowing NFL FLAG will help grow this sport, I hope boys and girls can see themselves playing the same game as the best players in the world.”

The Pro Bowl originated in 1951. It had decade-long stretches in Los Angeles and Hawaii, along with other homes in Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

Fan voting will still be used to help determine Pro Bowlers. The 2023 Pro Bowl Games will be held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 5.

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