The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with a skills competitions and a flag football game according to the Associated Press. The new event will replace the Pro Bowl which started in 1951 as the NFL’s All-Star Game. It will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills in challenges over a weeklong span. The 2023 Games will be held in Las Vegas, and the flag football game will be at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 5.
Peyton Manning and his company, Omaha Productions, will help shape programming and promote the event’s content throughout the week. Manning, a 14-time Pro Bowl pick during his Hall of Fame career, will provide input and will also be a part of the coaching staff for the flag football portion of the event.
“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. “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.”
Quality of play in the NFL‘s Pro Bowl has often been criticized. Players, understandably so, are often concerned about getting hurt, treating it as an exhibition more than competition. A flag football game could increase competition while avoiding potential injuries resulting from tackling, blocking and hitting. It will also allow players who are playing the Super Bowl to play along in the activities, whereas previously those players would sit out.
“The Pro Bowl has always been a time to step back and celebrate the game of football with teammates, fans and family,” Peyton Manning told the AP. “I’m thankful I can continue to be part of the week as all of us at Omaha Productions work with the NFL to reimagine The Pro Bowl Games.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.