NEW YORK (WGGB) — The 2014 Pro Bowl is slated to see some changes.
Wednesday, the NFL and the NFL Players Association jointly announced that a new format for the game, which was originally proposed by NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth, will be in place for the next edition of football’s version of an all-star game.
A new draft-like format will replace the traditional AFC vs NFC format, that has been in place since 1971.
The NFL says that players for the game will be selected “without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches, and players.”
The league offers, as an example, that the top six quarterbacks following voting will be deemed “All-Stars” no matter how many come from AFC or NFC teams.
Those “All-Stars” will then be put into a Pro Bowl Draft, set for January 22, 2014. The two players that receive the most votes will be team captains, with assistance from Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice as alumni captains and two fan captains who win NFL.com fantasy football competitions.
The 2014 Pro Bowl will be held in Hawaii on January 26, 2014.
There are also some other in-game changes made, including:
- 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.