The NFL is making major changes to it's annual Pro Bowl game. Conference affiliation no longer exists, as the two rosters will consist of 43 players, drafted by a few captains. The 86 player draft pool will still be determined by fan voting, coaches, and players.

The two players with the most votes will be named team captains. Those captains will be joined by Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, along with two fantasty football players. Seriously. Two fantasy football champions will draft each roster, along with the team captains, as well as Rice and Sanders.

Can you picture the overweight owner of the Whodat Honky Tonks arguing with Jerry Rice and Drew Brees about which player to select with the 38th pick in the pro bowl draft? I can, and it's a glorious sight.

I applaud the NFL for its creativity. From a marketing standpoint, this will create plenty of buzz. However, the play on the field will still suck, which is the real issue with the game in the first place. The changes will only bring more attention to the subpar performances from players who would much rather sleepwalk through an exhibition game than risk injury.

According to, other changes to the NFL All-Star game include:

Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

• A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters in addition to the traditional rule in the second and fourth quarters. Possession also will change hands after each quarter.

• Defenses will be allowed to play Cover 2 and press coverage. In the past, only man coverage had been allowed, except for goal-line situations.

• Changes will be made to the game clock during the two-minute warning, with the clock stopping if the offense doesn't gain at least 1 yard, in order to encourage offenses to try to gain yardage at the end of each quarter.

• In addition, the clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the game referee except during the two-minute warnings and the final five minutes of the game.

• The game will use a 35-second/25-second play clock instead of the traditional 40-second/25-second clock.

• Also, the game clock will not stop on sacks of the quarterback, outside of the game's final two minutes.

NFL Makes Major Pro Bowl Changes

Pro Bowl players will likely be revealed in mid December. However, draft will occur on January 22nd, four days before the game takes place in Honolulu.


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