The 2023 Pro Bowl introduced a new format that eliminated the traditional tackle football all-star game that we’ve seen in years past. With players putting forth only a marginal effort and so many players opting out in the name of health and safety, the Pro Bowl simply hasn’t meant what it did in years past.
The NFL’s attempt at fixing this event featured skills challenges for several major position groups on Thursday night, then capped things off Sunday with three flag football games coached by the Manning brothers and a few more skills competitions.
Yesterday, Chris asked if you guys were fans of the new format. Now that we’ve seen the end result, did you think it was the right move?
Question of the day: Was the 2023 Pro Bowl a success?
While the skills challenges were somewhat amusing, I was let down by the star power participating. The Pro Bowl is about showcasing the league’s most elite and their exceptional capabilities that put them in a tier above their peers. Sure, it’s fun to see Derek Carr hit a bunch of moving targets but when was the last Sunday you turned on your television to watch Derek Carr? Two of the AFC’s three quarterbacks were Carr, who was benched by his 6-11 team, and Tyler Huntley, who threw for two (yes, you read that right) touchdowns this season.
Even then, a lot of the events were hit or miss. While some players were going all out, others were visibly going half-effort, if that.
#Raiders RB Josh Jacobs is not a fan of the new pro bowl format— JPA (@jasrifootball) February 4, 2023
“This s**t is stupid”
Jacobs goes on to say the NFL should just send the players and their families on a vacation. (H/T: @tashanreed) pic.twitter.com/On43yZIPLn
The quality was often diluted. The timing of the skills challenges wasn’t great, either:
Are you watching the Pro Bowl games right now?— Max Gerber (@maxgerbs) February 3, 2023
Now, my initial thoughts were that the events failed, but sometime around halfway through the first flag football game on Sunday, things changed. I didn’t want to like it, and I hated that I found myself enjoying it. But, as the day went on and the players loosened up, it really became fun with the players' personalities showing through.
Beyond that, we got to see some really passionate coaching from Eli and Peyton Manning, and the latter’s commitment to understanding the rulebook was fascinating, even though the designated referee decided not to adhere to it on several occasions.
Plus, it was nice to see the Detroit Lions send four guys to the Pro Bowl, which was a nice change of pace from previous years. We got some fun action from Amon-Ra St. Brown catching pool passes, Penei Sewell barreling through the relay race, and more.
So, as much as I want to say it was a waste of time, it ultimately turned a corner at some point Sunday and became really fun, at least to me. Plus, getting NFL players on the field for some flag football is a great segue to get a national audience interested in flag football as an alternative entertainment. I didn’t want to enjoy it, but I think I’ll be planning to tune in again next year.
Do you agree that the new Pro Bowl format was a success? Did you even bother to watch it, or know that it began on Thursday night? Vote in the poll below and let us hear your thoughts.
Was the revamped Pro Bowl a success?
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