NFL announces major changes to Pro Bowl

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pro Bowl is dead, long live the Pro Bowl!

Today the NFL announced sweeping changes to the nature and format of the Pro Bowl that will utterly transform the game. Whereas in previous years the very viability and existence of the Pro Bowl has been in question, these changes will in my view make it more exciting and a better television experience. It will also make it resemble actual football less- which I feel is a good thing.

Here are some of the specifics:

The NFC vs. AFC format is eliminated. The Pro Bowl is now totally removed from any other All-Star game which is league vs. league or conference vs. conference. The six top-vote getters for the whole league at each position are now All-Pro.

The teams are now compiled via fantasy draft. A small group of people, including the overall NFL.com fantasy football champion, team captains Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice, and the winner of something called the Lenovo Fantasy Coach of the Year Program, as well as the top two overall vote-getters in the Pro Bowl voting will team up to select the two teams. As awesome as this sounds to me as an avid fantasy football player, frankly I don't know what Deion and Jerry are doing there as I'm pretty sure the top fantasy players in the country know how to draft a football team by themselves without any help. This is basically just a huge IDP draft with offensive linemen thrown in there as well. I look forward to the Pro Bowl featuring Fat Mike from Hoboken vs. Dave the Accountant. Go Dave! Also, if Deion does not wear the Leon Sandcastle afro, the whole thing is ruined for me.

There are now two-minute warnings in every quarter. The idea here is for there to be more two-minute drills. This is especially important because...

Possession of the ball changes at the end of every quarter. Huh, how about that. It will certainly add more urgency.

No more kickoffs. Nobody wants stupid special-teams injuries in the Pro Bowl, and this is a logical progression from the near automatic-touchback kickoff rules the NFL currently has in place. This of course makes the kickoff return specialist expendable, and there wlll be an extra DB instead. Possessions will begin at the 25-yard line.

More defense. Defenses can now play actual schemes like press and cover 2, instead of man coverage all the time. I'm pretty sure if Al Davis were still alive he'd have vetoed the entire thing based on this alone.

New clock rules. Some really interesting concepts here! For the Pro Bowl, inside of two minutes the clock will stop on any play that does not gain at least a yard. This is to prevent kneeling out the clock. It will also make the game longer, but no more victory formation. The play clock is now 35/25 seconds instead of 40/25, and the clock will not stop on a sack outside of the final two minutes of the game.

So what do you guys think of this? If you were a player, would you be more inclined or less inclined to participate in the game based on the new rules? Player participation has been a serious issue lately so getting the players to buy in is a big deal. Are there any rules here you'd like to see implemented into the regular season? Where is the college football style overtime?

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