The Pros and Cons of Pro Bowl Reimagined


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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 05: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 05: NFC head coach Eli Manning and NFC captain Pete Davidson celebrate with the trophy as confetti falls after defeating the AFC during an NFL Pro Bowl football game at Allegiant Stadium on February 05, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Marley Gandee, Associate Editor-In-Chief

In order to ease the fear of concussions and serious injuries, the NFL “reimagined” how the Pro Bowl would take place. Instead of the NFC and the AFC competing in a regular football game, they had a series of mini-games and several rounds of flag football. The NFL even had a flag football youth championship! This youth competition brought athletes from around the world, featuring BOTH boys and girls from 8 different countries. To have young women playing in the NFL flag football championships leads the league in huge strides toward gender equality. Football is a game of talent, but the cool part about it is that there is a spot for everyone on the team. Players don’t have to be super skinny, but if they are, there’s a spot for them. Some of the best running backs are short, but they still made it big in the league. The entire “reimagined Pro Bowl” shows how the NFL is changing its policies to help up-and-coming players learn what safety and equality in this league should look like.

Players, teams, and fans have all pushed towards the change in the Pro Bowl; the NFL’s executive vice president of club and league events said that the league was, “thrilled to use The Pro Bowl Games as a platform to spotlight flag football as an integral part of the sport’s future.” He also stated that the pro bowl would positively affect players’ relationships with each other and the game. I would also say that one can infer the NFL thinks that the new pro bowl can have positive effects on players’ mental health, by having a fun outlet for the stress of the past season.

So why are some fans still so upset about the new Pro Bowl? In 2013, 12.2 million people watched the Pro Bowl, but this year only 6.69 million changed the channel to watch the new games. Many fans are critical of the Pro Bowl because of the low-intensity games the guys play. Even J.J Watt, a former defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals said he’d seen walk-throughs more intense that the Pro Bowl. The games such as water balloon toss and dodgeball don’t show the true skill of each player; rather their capability to play childish games. Even the flag football contest proved to be a show of terrible skill, rather than a talent for many. In the 3, 20-minute games, the NFC and AFC quarterbacks combined for a total of seven interceptions, and only two running backs had more than three carries.

Overall, the Pro Bowl hasn’t proved to be a fan favorite, but those who have educated themselves are able to see how the positive effects of it outweigh the negative. Finally, the NFL is making huge strides to prioritize the health and safety of current players and support the female talent that the game is beginning to recognize.