Two fans will help pick the final Pro Bowl teams

The NFL has announced sweeping changes to the Pro Bowl.  The biggest change comes from the elimination of the conference affiliations and picking teams from the 86 players who make it to Hawaii.

The overall Pro Bowl rosters will continue to be determined by the fans, coaches, and players.  And two fans will indeed be directly involved in shaping the final configuration of players.

“One of these champions will earn their spot as part of Lenovo’s Fantasy Coach of the Year program, which provides NFL.com fans a chance to be rewarded for their fantasy football skills,” the league’s release announcing the changes explains.  “The other champion can compete for a Pro Bowl role by playing at NFL.com/fantasy.”

Each team will be determined by a three-person collaboration — a former player (this year, Jerry Rice or Deion Sanders), one of the highest vote-getters on offense or defense from the Pro Bowl rosters, and one of the two fans.

The Pro Bowl player draft will be televised by NFL Network on Wednesday, January 22.  The teams then will practice on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The game will be played on Sunday, January 26.

The new approach reflects verbatim the contents of the fan survey previously posted at NFLHuddle.com.  While there’s no guarantee it will make the game more interesting, it can’t make it any more uninteresting.