NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – The National Football League announced Wednesday it was ending the traditional AFC vs. NFC Pro Bowl format in favor of a fantasy draft for the 2014 Pro Bowl.
Players will be selected without regard to conference in voting done by coaches, fans, and players. In other words, the top six vote-getters at quarterback, regardless of how many are from one conference, will be eligible for the Pro Bowl fantasy draft.
The draft will see two fantasy football champions, aided by Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, pick their lineup from among the stars selected by the fans, players, and coaches.
“As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment,” said NFL Players Association President Dominique Foxworth. “To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.”
“The players made it clear that they wanted to continue the Pro Bowl and were committed to making it better than ever,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We think these changes will enhance the game for both fans and players.”
The NFL also announced other changes that will be made to the 2014 Pro Bowl. The changes, according to a press release from the NFL, include the following:
- Game within the Game – A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter. This will increase the opportunities for quarterbacks to direct “two-minute drills,” which are especially exciting for fans.
- No Kickoffs – The coin toss will determine which team is awarded possession first. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays.
- Rosters – The rosters will continue to consist of 43 players per squad. The kick return specialist will be replaced by an additional defensive back.
- Cover Two and Press Coverage – The defense will be permitted to play “cover two” and “press” coverage. In previous years, only “man” coverage was permitted, except for goal line situations.
- Stopping of the Game Clock – Beginning at the two-minute mark of every quarter, if the offense does not gain at least one yard, the clock will stop as if the play were an incomplete pass. This rule will make the team with the ball attempt to gain yardage toward the end of each quarter.
- Game Timing – The game clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the referee, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.
- Play Clock – A 35-second/25-second play clock will be adopted instead of the typical 40-second/25-second clock.
- Sacks – The game clock will not stop on quarterback sacks outside of the final two minutes of the game. Currently, the game clock stops in these situations outside of two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.