At Next Pro Bowl, Tackling Is Out, Flag Football Is In

Worried about injuries, league is switching for next all-star competition
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2022 9:55 AM CDT
NFL Makes Unusual Switch for Next Pro Bowl
Arizona Cardinals' Zach Ertz gets tackled by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Justin Hollins on Sunday. No such tackles will be taking place at the next Pro Bowl competition.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game, the AP has learned. The new event will replace the full-contact showcase started in 1951. It will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills in challenges over several days. The 2023 Games will be held in Las Vegas, and the flag football game at Allegiant Stadium is Sunday, Feb. 5.

Quality of play in the Pro Bowl has often been criticized. Players, understandably concerned about getting hurt, treat it as an exhibition more than competition. A flag football game could increase competition while avoiding potential injuries resulting from tackling, blocking, and hitting. What's more, the NFL has a major interest in flag football. The league partnered with the International Federation of American Football to bring flag football to the World Games in July with an eye on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

(Read more NFL stories.)

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