Pro Bowl

Before and After: Understanding the Changes to the NFL Pro Bowl

Matt Cullen

By Matt Cullen

August 16, 2013

nfl pro bowl 2014 quintevents resized 600As you've probably heard, the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl will feature several format changes tailored to add to the excitement of the NFL's All-Star Game.

Proposed by NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth, the changes are designed to make the Pro Bowl the ultimate fan-friendly celebration and to drastically change the matchup style that has been in existence since 1971.

But how drastic are these changes and how will they vary from the current format?

To answer that question, we've compiled a list of the proposed changes and did a before/after comparison of new Pro Bowl format. Enjoy!

Understanding the Changes to the NFL Pro Bowl

Category Before After
Teams AFC vs. NFC Two Team matchup based on
fantasy draft-like roster selection.
Players  An equal number of players will
be selected from the AFC and
NFC in voting by fans, coaches
and players.
Players will be selected without
regard to conference in voting by
fans, coaches and players.
Two-minute warnings occur at the
end of the 2nd and 4th quarters.
Team with the possession after
each quarter will retain
possession at the beginning of
the next quarter with the exception
for halftime. 
A two-minute warning will be added
to the first and third quarters and
the ball will change hands after
each quarter.
Kickoffs  Kickoffs Allowed: Coin toss
determines which side has the
choice to receive or kickoff.
Kickoffs occur to start the game,
after each scoring play, and to
begin the third quarter. 
No Kickoffs: The coin toss will
determine which team is awarded
possession first. The ball will be
placed on the 25-yard line at the
start of each quarter and after
scoring plays.
Rosters  Rosters consist of 43 players per
squad, including a kick return
specialist determined by voters. 
The rosters will continue to consist
of 43 players per squad. The kick
return specialist will be replaced
by an additional defensive back. 
Defense  Only “man” coverage is permitted,
except for goal-line situations
where zone coverage could
be played. 
The defense will be permitted to
play "cover two" and "press"
Play Clock  40-second/25-second  35-second/25-second 
Game Clock  Game clock stops under the
following circumstances: an
incomplete pass, player runs the
ball out of bounds, a timeout is
called, or if the quarterback spikes
the football. Game clock will
continue to run if a completed
play stays within bounds
regardless of yardage gained
or lost. 
Beginning at the two-minute mark
of every quarter, if the offense does
not gain at least one yard, the clock
will stop as if the play were an
incomplete pass. This rule will make
the team with the ball attempt to gain
yardage toward the end of each quarter. 
Game Clock  The game clock stops upon a
signal by an official when a forward
pass is incomplete. This rule is
consistent throughout the game. 
The game clock will start after an
incomplete pass on the signal of the
referee, except inside the last two
minutes of the first half and the last
five minutes of the second half. 
Game Clock:
The game clock stops on a
quarterback sack outside of two
minutes of the second and
fourth quarters. 
The game clock will not stop on
quarterback sacks outside of the
final two minutes of the game.

Get a Little Help from NFL Legends

In addition to the format changes list above, the two rosters will be determined based on the Pro Bowl player draft. Closely resembling captain pick’em, the two leading vote getters will join two fantasy football champions to draft players.

Helping these players and fantasy football champions will be Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders. Similar to a playground pick-em, players will be selected one-by-one until the two rosters are complete. 

For the first time since the Pro Bowl's inception, the rosters will feature a combination of AFC and NFC players. Players can earn a spot in the Pro Bowl by being in the top of their respected position voting as there will no longer be a regard to equal numbers from each conference.

What do you think of the new Pro Bowl format? Share your thoughts below!


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