NFL drops Pro Bowl in favour of week-long Games event

Featured image credit: Johnny Williams on Unsplash

Featured image credit: Johnny Williams on Unsplash

The NFL American football league has announced today (Monday) that its annual Pro Bowl game will be transformed into a week-long “celebration of player skills” that will also incorporate the flag football discipline.

The Pro Bowl has traditionally served as the NFL’s all-star game but from next year it will transition into a wider event known as The Pro Bowl Games.

The 2023 Games will take place in Las Vegas, with the multi-day AFC vs NFC competition to culminate in a flag game featuring Pro Bowl players at Allegiant Stadium. The game will take place on February 5, a week before the Super Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Pro Bowl Games will also integrate new challenges where players showcase their football and non-football skills in unique competitions. The NFL will work with ESPN, Peyton Manning and Omaha Productions to shape the programming throughout the week. Manning, himself a 14-time Pro Bowl player, will also be a key part of the coaching staff for the flag football game.

The NFL will integrate flag football throughout the week. The format is growing in popularity, with the NFL recently partnering with the International Federation of American Football to introduce it to the World Games multi-sport event in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Pro Bowl debuted in 1951 and was held in Los Angeles for 21 seasons before moving to different cities from 1972 to 1980. Hawaii then hosted the game for 29 seasons but over the past decade it has moved to different cities, with Allegiant Stadium hosting the 2022 edition.

Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s executive vice-president of club business and league events, said: “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.

“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.”

The Games will also highlight the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and maintain existing Pro Bowl elements such as fan-voting to determine the NFC and AFC rosters, skills activities, and the East-West Shrine Bowl, which is contested by senior collegiate players.