The NFL will replace the Pro Bowl with a skills contest and flag Football game, The Associated Press has learned.
The new event will replace the full-contact physical exhibition that began in 1951.
The 2023 edition will be held in Las Vegas, and the flag football game will be played at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, February 5.
Peyton Manning and his company Omaha Productions will be responsible for shaping the programming and promoting the content of the event throughout the week. Manning, a 14-time Pro Bowl selection in a career that took him to the Hall of Fame, will bring his perspective and also be part of the coaching staff at the flagship game.
“After last year’s game, we made the decision by taking into account a lot of internal consultation, getting feedback from general managers and coaches, getting a lot of feedback from players.”
“We think there’s a real opportunity to do something completely different and move away from the traditional American soccer game,” he added. “We decided that the goal should be to highlight 88 of the NFL top stars in a way that is really positive, fun and competitive.”
O’Reilly mentioned that recent Pro Bowl participants favored maintaining a multi-day event.
The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles, playing in that city for 21 seasons before moving to various cities between 1971 and 1980. Hawaii was the host from 1980 to 2009. The game has had different locations since then, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.
Players, concerned about avoiding injury, take it as an exhibition rather than a competition. A flag game would increase the intensity while avoiding injuries from tackles, blocks and other hits.
“The Pro Bowl has always been a time to relax and celebrate the game of soccer with teammates, fans and family,” Manning told AP.
Fan voting will continue to determine the AFC and NFC rosters.
Tom Brady is the player with the most Pro Bowl invitations with 15. Four players have 14 invitations, including Manning.