Adam Schefter tweeted out that the pro bowl format is going to change, according to NFL sources. Rather than the AFC facing off against the NFC, the NFL is apparently going to adopt the NHL all-star game format, and have a fantasy draft with two teams being selected among all the eligible players. This insures that ESPN will have a reason to mention hockey (sort of) on baseball’s trade deadline day while the NFL again swoops in with a story to try to grab some attention.
Cheap gimmick? Yes, the pro bowl is. We have seen virtually no defense (see: effort) and some laughable moments in the last two games, with scorelines of 62-35 and 59-41. This destroys the history of the hallowed event, as who will now remember who set the record for most yards for the AFC in a pro bowl (don’t know that one, just asking).
This could lead to some hilarity, and while the game itself will be a non-factor, the actual choosing of the teams will be An Event on par with the Release of the Schedule. Which players will be snubbed until the end? Will quarterbacks go with linemen over defense? Who will be the first to draft a kicker, always a no-no in a fantasy league? If someone like Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning is put in charge of selecting their teams, will they surpass one of their own receivers to add a star from a different team first? If it is coaches selecting, do they diss their own stars? The hurt feelings should be worth it alone, so long as they allow live tweeting from players during the event.
[UPDATE: The NFL has released a statement about the Pro Bowl changes. Pro bowlers will now not even be selected by conference, so that there can be, say, more receivers from the NFC than AFC, or more quarterbacks. Last year, for example, far more of the top quarterbacks played in the NFC.
The drafting will be televised, of course, on Wednesday January 22nd on NFL Network. The two leading vote getters will be captains, along with two “fantasy football” champions through nfl.com. Oh, and they are eliminating kickoffs in the Pro Bowl game, placing the ball at the 25, while also making each quarter a stoppage that requires a two minute drill.]