Report: NFL ditches Pro Bowl format for fantasy draft

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The people have spoken.  And regardless of what they really said, the NFL will be getting rid of the traditional Pro Bowl structure, dumping the AFC and NFC teams for a fantasy draft format.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the change has now officially been made, and it will be used for the first time in early 2014.

Schefter also reports that Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will serve as draft captains for the two teams.  This meshes with our recent item regarding a fan survey that explained the teams would be chosen by two retired players, the player getting the most Pro Bowl fan votes on offense, the player getting the most Pro Bowl fan votes on defense, and the two fans getting the highest score in fantasy football.

It’s unclear whether the final proposal will include the two fans who generate the highest scores in fantasy football at  (But the league nevertheless would like you to sign up for fantasy football at

Per Schefter, the Pro Bowl also will eliminate kickoffs, as a safety measure.  In our view, whatever the league uses as an alternative could end up being the thing that eventually replaces kickoffs for all games.

So there it is.  And when we asked for input last week on this potential change, nearly 40 percent of those who responded indicated no interest in the changes.

Which likely means that the TV ratings will only double.

90 responses to “Report: NFL ditches Pro Bowl format for fantasy draft

  1. So here is how it works. Players who are selected from the NFC will be given an xbox, and players from the AFC will be given a Playstation 4. The AFC will win every pro bowl from then on because they have Andrew Luck as their QB. See, so simple even you people can understand, well except the guys from Baltimore.

  2. Sounds pretty awesome if you ask me. But I bet they will find a way to mess it up like letting the Superbowl Half Time performer get a pick followed by the oldest brother of the second born of the second born Baldwin brother.

  3. @ColtsWinColtsWin!!

    Yeah Andrew Luck will be playing in every pro bowl, because the colts won’t be making any superbowls anytime soon

  4. I don’t get it, everyone here always knocks the Pro-Bowl, yet it still gets better ratings than most MLB World Series games. In any event, I predict that your prediction is right – ratings will in all likelihood drastically increase the first time around, if for no other reason than to see the change in format.

  5. half way home NFL. Now just scrap the actual game for all sorts of skills challenge events and reward the winners with some sort of cash prizes and awards/championship belts (like fastest man in the league, strongest man, biggest arm, most accurate, best hands, etc. This would generate an actual competition and leave the players out of harms way from collisions. Not to mention be much better to watch.

  6. Ditching kickoffs would be…no, is a bad idea. Every team doesn’t have a Peyton Manning, and the special teams keep them in the game. The Bears in 2006 would not have been in the Super Bowl if not for Devin Hester and his heroics. If they use this as a way of getting that IMO essential part of the game out of the game I will be very disappointed. But what is worse they will either say that it is for “safety” or “this is what the fans want” – I hate Roger Goodell.

  7. No thanks NFL, I seem to have better things to do with my life other then dab in fantasy. My fantasy is that there won’t be a silly assed all star game where the players act and play the game like their 12 yrs old. Its like watching a pop warner football game. Please !!!!

  8. They aren’t replacing kickoffs with anything else. They’re just taking it out. So after a team scores, the other team automatically starts on the 20 or something.

  9. I’ve been a avid fan since 1967 and have NEVER watched a Pro Bowl & NEVER will. A waste of time that risk my players while making a joke of real football

  10. The drafting of the teams will garner higher ratings than the game.

    At least they’re trying to make it work. Their effort should lead to a skills competition one day but I think they have serious concerns about the competitive nature of the players leading to injuries.

    It needs to be the right balance of competitive and fun.

  11. Got a good idea, why not make O.J. Simpson one of the judges who picks the players,,,id search him first but what a hoot,,,believe Id watch that,,,,,

  12. The issue that I have with any all star game is that the participants are often there for name recognition alone and not necessarily for what they have done for that particular season. The league should set up a statistics format to form Pro Bowl rosters. Come on Jeff Saturday was in the Pro Bowl last year and didn’t even start for the Packers.

  13. Just end this farce of a game permanently.

    How anyone could watch this bore is mindnumbing to think.

    Then again, this is the USA we’re talking about…folks here will watch ANYTHING.

  14. An all-star game only works in non-contact sports. Please reinstate the skills competition, which is the only cool thing the Pro Bowl ever entailed.

  15. So after they do this draft and all that fun they still play a meaningless game? With no kickoffs?

    I really don’t see what’s improved here?

    It’s the game that’s boring and useless…the players aren’t gonna play any harder or care anymore because Jerry Rice picked them for his team.

  16. Not a big fan of this.

    Howeer, if you are going to go this route. I would love to see the losing AFC/NFC Championship game Coaches pick the players.

    Would love to see what someone like Belichick would do in picking a fantasy draft.

  17. This is really cute. Getting making more of a show of the pro bowl. Why not just lose the damn game and put together some awesome skill competitions instead of cheesy stuff like throwing the ball through tires and 40 yard dashes. Do some American Gladiator spin offs or something.

    No one wants to watch football played soft.

  18. the Pro Bowl also will eliminate kickoffs, as a safety measure.
    Here is a safety measure. Don’t play a Pro Bowl.

  19. Ummm…ok. Now I have one million and one reasons not to watch it..never have, never will.

  20. It would be better if 2 hall of famers picked draft eligible college players who are ready to put it all on the line. Have a vote for first team NFL players who then are selected to mentor a college player. Get live interviews throughout the game from the pro players.

  21. The probowl is fun……………….on madden, NFL you are the Monopoly of sports in america, how bout you steal a few pages from the NBA’s allstar weekend. Hell it would be more exciting to watch the afc vs the nfc in a basketball game, or dunk contest.

  22. @godofwine….. wow. I actually find myself agreeing with you. We cannot lose kick returns from the game of football. I also like your example of Hester because he IMMEDIATELY came to mind. I also remember Dante Hall in KC in the early 2000s going for the record vs Oakland. I was at Arrowhead that night and he came within 25 yards of scoring that record breaking TD. It was electrifying. I love the unknown factor of the return game.

  23. The draft will draw a lot of interest. The game, not so much they may as well cancel it

  24. Oh yeah, this won’t be the dumbest idea since MLB chose to have its All-Star Game winner determine home field advantage in the World Series at all.

  25. I like this idea. It’s different, it’s interesting. Reading the comments, I seem to be among the minority, but I thoroughly enjoy watching the athletes go out there and, as one commenter stated, “act like 12 year olds playing the game”. Things like Ochocinco wanting to kick field goals is cool to me. I agree that it’s jumping the shark, as another commenter stated, but even the term ‘jump the shark’ jumped the shark. It’s inevitable in today’s society.

  26. Will it still be played on the off week before the superbowl, and if so, will they still exclude superbowl players.

    better idea…..

    give some hot chicks the jerseys of the players voted to the probowl, then a giant cage match/ mud wrestling match to determine the winner.

  27. When the NFL eliminates kickoffs I will stop attending NFL games. Whatever happen to the “3 phases of the game”, offense, defense, and special teams!!??

    King Roger needs to be stopped immediately! The downfall of the NFL is picking up steam!

  28. So we have Deion “way past his Prime” Time Sanders and Geriatric Rice as captains. How about Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana in the I have never lost a Super Bowl and have multiple SB MVP’s category as your captains. Too cerebral for the working man. Novel idea but what happens to the winning team. Does that conference get Home Field advantage for the Super Bowl or do they get all the calls unless they are playing New England or Baltimore????

  29. Eliminate kickoffs for safety reasons? Just think, if we also eliminated punts there would be no reason to call it ‘foot’ball anymore. Please don’t ruin the game.

  30. The uniforms will be HOT PINK and NEON GREEN, all the players will let their children play a series or two before they have a battle royale between the wives and girlfreinds of the players (wives and girlfreinds of the same players) that’d be interesting. Reffed by the cheerleaders in THONGS (no tops) and a couple of lucky fans will get a chance to kick a feildgoal. I’d watch that!!! Otherwise reruns of Wagon Train would be more interesting. Head’m up move’m out RAWHIDE!!!

  31. dylanssongwriter says:

    Jul 31, 2013 2:16 PM

    Deion Sanders? Really NFL?


    I agree, should have been Leon Sandcastle!

  32. Not only do they have to bring back the Skills’ Competitions… but lets also bring back the NFL’s Fastest Man competitions!! Those events from the 80s featuring among others, Darrell Green, Willie Gault and Mark Duper were EPIC!

  33. Here’s my changes to the NFL:

    Pillar and Plundar Division:

    Mythological/Magic Division:

    Wild West Division:

    Beaks and Talons:

    Beast and Burden Division:

    Sexy Cats:

    Blue Collar Division:

    Fangs ang Fins:
    Browns (cause they are dogs/canine pooches)

  34. You can put all the bells and whistles on it that you want… it’s still a meaningless game. It has to have some meaning behind it for the players and the fans to care. If the players perform well give them automatic bonuses or contract extension options for the next year/s… or something along those lines. As long as it remains pointless that’s all it will ever be.

  35. This is a joke right? I mean come on anything Deion Sanders is associated with has to be. If this is true then the NFL is becoming the WWE of professional football……..sad really sad.

  36. Well this is dumb…apparently you will probably be eligible for the roster is you get the media access….so all of the “fans” (sheep) that get their information from NFL channel or ESPN, but have NO knowledge or exposure to the good players. What a joke!

  37. chillyball says:
    Jul 31, 2013 3:15 PM
    Here’s my changes to the NFL:

    Really well played.

  38. Once again, Gooddell puts a bandaid on major wound. He still hasn’t addressed the fact that players dont’ even attempt to try on the field. Goodell still won’t listen to fans. Then again, he refuses to listen when fans tell them prices are too high and we don’t need gimmicks like voyeuristic locker room cameras to entice us to attend games.

  39. It would be funny if the fans who have a vote intentionally voted for some of the worst players, that would make it interesting.

  40. Don’t you guys have your own sources besides Shefter? The NFL sent out a press release for this to pretty much anyone and everyone

  41. Who cares what changes they make to the format. The players are only going to 1/2 assit (understandably) and the game will still suck. It’s about the effort, not the game or format. With no effort, so they don’t get hurt, the game itself will just suck. End it for pete’s sakes, will ya Roger?

  42. Having one of the Greatest Wr and Cb that has ever played the game involved is not a bad thing!!! Why is everyone dissing on prime time for? If he was in his prime and still playing every last one of you would want him on your team!!

    With that being said i hope that they base it more on performance then by what team you play for.. Take dqwell jackson for the browns led the Entire league in TACKLES one year but was snubbed … Only cause he plays for the browns! I personally think the Top 5 players at each position minus punters and kickers should be in a ” draft pool” … No mattet what team or division they are in

  43. Nobody is that interested in the Pro-Bowl but this is at least a new idea to gain some interest. Guys can compare their own fantasy teams to the ones chosen. NFL knows fantasy has increased popularity of the sport. This shows as well with their partnership with Xbox, the NFL demo for xbox one was pretty sick.

  44. In effect this new concept would actually eliminate the tradition and purpose of the probowl by turning this part of football tradition into a satirized, gimmicky event that would draw no revenue for the NFL (those who actually could afford to attend would just as well go on a cruise and play this on xbox) and would honor nobody. Goodell has been wanting to dump the Probowl (which most fans don’t get the point of) as a non-income producing event and this absurd idea most certainly is the final nail pounded into the coffin of a football tradition. Why not put the London games on xbox and have “reality matches” on as well? Fantasy football is for fan posers who probably could never make their high school football team either and can only fantasize.

  45. So Jerry Rice will draft Patrick Peterson first overall because he said he was the best player in the league

    And Deon’s team will consist of all DB’s playing every position. Great……..

  46. These are just stupid changes. I would rather the game be completely cut out. Just make the pro bowl a ceremony and air it just prior to the draft each year.

  47. All the NFL had to do is make it to where the losing conference doesn’t get a bye week for the playoffs the following year. So, no matter what your record is, if your conference lost the Pro Bowl–you don’t get a bye week for the playoffs!! Basically, your path to the Super Bowl will be longer than the opposing conference! Now THAT would make for a competitive Pro Bowl!

  48. They should have player disco dance offs. OL vs DL, CBs vs WRs, LBs vs RBs. Winner gets the jivest turkey award

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