As the NFL continues its efforts to make the Pro Bowl seem more like a celebration of the best players in the league and less like a preseason game that is for some reason being played eight months too early and with players wearing a bunch of different helmets, different rules regarding the timing of the game are being trotted out.
The differences are as follows:
1. A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter.
2. After the two-minute warning of each quarter, if the offense does not gain at least one yard, the game clock will stop and not start again until the next snap.
3. After an incomplete pass the game clock will start on the referee’s signal, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.
4. A 35/25-second play clock will be used instead of the normal 40/25-second clock.
5. The game clock will not stop after a quarterback sack at any point during the game.
The rules seem like a combination of trying to encourage more offense and trying not to allow the game to drag out too long. Some of these rules seem kind of bizarre; others seem kind of fun. None of them is likely to make a big difference, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the NFL take a close look at a few of the rules (particularly switching the 40-second play clock to a 35-second play clock) and potentially use them in the regular season as well.
What none of these rules does, however, is force the players to take the game seriously. Which is what would really make the Pro Bowl entertaining.