In the latest attempt to fix their all-star game, the NFL has announced the replacement of the actual game with a week of events, including flag football, skill challenges and more.
NFL REINVENTS PRO BOWL AS ‘THE PRO BOWL GAMES’ PRESENTED BY VERIZON, REPLACES TACKLE GAME WITH FLAG FOOTBALL AND SKILLS COMPETITIONS STARTING IN 2023
Multi-day AFC vs NFC competition culminates in action-packed Flag football game on Sunday, televised on ESPN and ABC, along with new skills challenges and major musical performance
The 2023 Pro Bowl Games presented by Verizon will keep fan-favorite activities, while innovating certain areas of week-long event in Las Vegas to deliver unforgettable experience for players, families and fans
Peyton Manning and Omaha Productions will help shape programming for tentpole event
For many years a cry from a vocal minority has existed to turn the NFL into a non-contact sport Ala flag football. If not flag, then some other form of the game that doesn’t involve the high-speed car accident collisions that injure so many players each and every week.
Unfortunately, the masses crave the violence and the NFL continues to be the modern day, American gladiatorial games that enthralled the mob in ancient Rome.
All that to say, it’s not a shock that the NFL is introducing more and more flag football events and other challenges that showcase the freakish athleticism of modern players while minimizing their exposure to injury.
One of the main reasons the traditional Pro Bowl has fallen out of favor is players opting out due to injury concerns.
So, while it isn’t what a lot of fans want to see, it does provide some of the excitement of football without the inevitable torn ligaments and broken bones.
September 26, 2022, New York, NY – The National Football League announced today a transformation of the Pro Bowl, renaming the tentpole event as ‘The Pro Bowl Games.’ Taking place in Las Vegas in 2023, The Pro Bowl Games presented by Verizon will be a week-long celebration of player skills featuring an exciting new format that spotlights Flag football. The multi-day AFC vs NFC competition will culminate in an action-packed Flag game featuring Pro Bowl players at Allegiant Stadium, and will air on ESPN and ABC on Sunday, February 5, 2023.
Throughout the week, The Pro Bowl Games will also integrate new challenges where players showcase their football and non-football skills in unique competitions. The revamped programming allows the top stars to show off their skills and celebrate their accomplishments in a fun, memorable way, surrounded by their families and fans.
To program the week-long event, the NFL will work with partners, including ESPN, as well as some of the biggest names in football. Peyton Manning and Omaha Productions— which co-created and executive produces the Emmy-Award-winning Monday Night Football with Peyton & Eli alongside ESPN, as well as ESPN+’s critically acclaimed PLACES series in partnership with NFL Films — will help shape the programming throughout the week. Manning himself will provide a unique perspective as a 14-time Pro Bowl player who understands the importance of the event to players and fans. He will also be a key part of the coaching staff for the AFC vs NFC Flag football game.
“We’ve received invaluable feedback from players, teams and fans about reimagining the Pro Bowl, and as a result, we’re thrilled to use The Pro Bowl Games as a platform to spotlight Flag football as an integral part of the sport’s future while also introducing fun, new forms of competition and entertainment that will bring our players, their families and fans closer than ever before,” said PETER O’REILLY, NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business and League Events. “Building on the success of the 2022 Pro Bowl and 2022 Draft, as well as our strong partnership with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and Las Vegas Raiders, we look forward to bringing The 2023 Pro Bowl Games to the capital of world-class sports and entertainment.”
As a growing focus for the organization, Flag football has been a critical piece of the NFL’s participation and development strategy, due to its highly accessible and inclusive qualities. In addition to the AFC vs NFC game on Sunday, The Pro Bowl Games will integrate Flag throughout the week, including the Play Football Opening Night and NFL FLAG Championships presented by Subway, which was created in partnership with RCX Sports and will feature the top girls’ and boys’ youth Flag teams from across the country and around the world. Most recently, the league celebrated a major milestone for the global growth and popularity of the football format, partnering with the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) this summer to bring Flag football to The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.
In the same way Flag celebrates the game of football at all levels, The Pro Bowl Games will highlight key partnerships that empower future generations, such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America. With a long-standing league relationship that supports Flag football programs and drives social justice conversations as a recent Inspire Change grant recipient, Boys & Girls Clubs of America will team up with the NFL to elevate philanthropic efforts and community activations throughout the week of The Pro Bowl Games. This collaboration will provide an opportunity for AFC and NFC Pro Bowl players to continue their ongoing engagement with America’s youth through exciting activities and in-person experiences.
While The Pro Bowl Games includes many new elements, it will maintain fan-favorite moments and events, including fan voting, which will start in the fall and help determine the NFC and AFC team rosters; skills activities, where the NFL’s best players participate in unique competitions; and the East-West Shrine Bowl, where senior collegiate pro prospects have an opportunity to showcase and develop their talents, as well as engage in life-changing experiences with the patients and families of the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Further into the season, the NFL will provide the week-long schedule and additional details surrounding The 2023 Pro Bowl Games presented by Verizon. Fans interested in receiving the latest information can register at NFL.com/ProBowlGames for exclusive ticket presale and VIP package opportunities.
Sounds far more interesting than “watch players take a vacation in Hawaii and phone-in a game while there” that the Pro Bowl had become over the last decade or so.
Will it actually re-kindle the fire of Pro Bowls past? Will current Houston Texans Dameon Pierce, Jalen Pitre and Derek Sitngley Jr. join the list that includes J.J. Watt, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson as perennial pro bowl players? We’ll just have to wait and see...