The Pro Bowl is no more: NFL replaces all-star game with week-long media event
The NFL is finally doing away with its long-irrelevant Pro Bowl, replacing the all-star touch football game with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game that is probably still a bad idea.
The league announced the debut of what will be called “The Pro Bowl Games,” which will feature a week-long series of events that no one with any respect for themselves and what they do in their free time will watch, culminating in a flag football game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Feb. 5.
Fans will vote for the rosters, the lucky 88 getting an all-expenses paid weeklong vacation to Las Vegas out of the deal, which is nice.
“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,” NFL executive Peter O’Reilly told the Associated Press. “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.”
The Pro Bowl dates back to 1951, a different era in pro sports, back when the players needed the extra money that they’d earn that day, and when they’d play the game like it meant something, because it did, with the winning team getting a bigger envelope at the pay window.
The game has long since not been anything other than a three-hour seven-on-seven drill.
The flag football tie-in isn’t coincidental. The NFL is partnering with the International Federation of American Football to bring flag football to The World Games in July with an eye on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Even so, think back to the flag football game at the 1999 Pro Bowl in which New England tailback Robert Edwards suffered knee ligament damage and sliced an artery in his left leg.
Edwards missed the 1999 and 2000 seasons rehabbing the injuries, then missed the 2001 season with a groin injury.
After gaining 1,115 yards on the ground in his rookie season in 1998, Edwards got just 20 more NFL carries, with Miami, in 2002, gaining 107 yards.