The NFL will be planting its flag in Las Vegas for the Pro Bowl for a week in February. And there will be even more flags for the annual game itself.
The NFL announced Monday some long-expected changes to its all-star event, including changing the non-competitive Sunday football game to a flag football competition between teams from the AFC and NFC. The game, which will take place Feb. 5 — a week before Super Bowl LVII — is seeing its biggest overhaul after years of tweaks.
The league worked in the offseason to improve the Pro Bowl, talking with players and executives on how it can make the game and week more exciting. Flag football has been a key part of the league’s global expansion, making its debut at The World Games this past summer with an eye on eventually becoming an Olympic sport in years to come.
The Pro Bowl has taken different forms in recent years as the NFL has tried to figure out ways to re-imagine it. For three Pro Bowls beginning in 2014, the NFL abandoned the AFC vs. NFC format and instead held a fantasy draft captained by Pro Football Hall of Famers like Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin, Cris Carter and Deion Sanders.
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The event has also been a training ground for potential rules changes. Last year the league introduced the “spot-and-choose” method to start halves and featured a shorter play clock.
This year’s Pro Bowl week, which is now branded as The Pro Bowl Games, will still feature skills competitions for the star players.