“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Albert Einstein's quote probably had nothing to do with football, but it can be implied to all things including the recent news of big changes to the NFL’s All-Star Game.
The NFL Pro Bowl will feature some exciting changes in 2014, including a new format based on changes proposed by NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth. The changes are designed to make the Pro Bowl the ultimate fan-friendly celebration of the top NFL All-Stars for the given year.
The game will no longer feature an AFC vs. NFC match-up that has existed since 1971. Instead, Pro Bowl players will be selected without regard to conference in voting by players, coaches, and fans. The game will not feature equal representation from each conference and will only feature the highest voted players.
For example, the top six wide receivers following the fans, players, and coaches voting will earn a spot in the Pro Bowl, regardless of how many are from AFC or NFC teams. In essence, the Pro Bowl could potentially feature all NFC or AFC players (although unlikely) based on how the votes fall.
Rosters will be determined based on the Pro Bowl player draft. Closely resembling a playground, captain pick’em, the two leading vote getters will join two NFL.com fantasy football champions to draft players.
Helping the fantasy football champions and leading vote getters will be Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders. A well played fantasy season and a little bit of luck will give two fantasy football stars the chance to determine the 2014 Pro Bowl Rosters! What an amazing experience for Fantasy Football players.
The Pro Bowl player draft will take place on January 22, 2014, just four days before the 2014 Pro Bowl. Coaches, who are determined from the losing teams in the AFC and NFC Divisional playoffs with the best regular-season records, will have the opportunity to practice with their teams for three days before kickoff on January 26.
Change is a Coming
In addition to the selection format, the game itself will have several new rules. Here are several new Pro Bowl changes that will take place in 2014:
- Game Within the Game – A two minute warning will be added to the 1st and 3rd quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter. The NFL believes this will increase the opportunities for teams to run two-minute drills, which will increase the excitement level for the fans.
- No Kickoffs – That’s right! A coin toss will help determine possession at the beginning of the game. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays.
- Rosters – Rosters will continue to consist of 43 players per squad, but the kick return specialist will be replaced by an additional defensive back
- Cover Two and Press Coverage – The defense will be permitted to play cover two and press coverage.
- Stopping of the Game Clock – Beginning at the two-minute warning of each quarter, if the offense does not gain at least one yard, the clock will stop.
- Game Timing – The game clock will start after an incomplete pass, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.
- Play Clock – A 35-second/25-second clock will be used instead of the 40-second/25-second clock.
- Sacks – The game clock will not stop on quarterback sacks outside of the final two minutes of the game.