Skip to main content

NFL replacing Pro Bowl with skills competition, flag football game in 2023

Pro Bowl
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The National Football League is officially eliminating the Pro Bowl, replacing the exhibition contest with a skills competition and flag football game that will take place in 2023.

After years of declining interest from fans and players, the NFL determined early this year that it needed to replace the Pro Bowl. Various efforts to save the exhibition game held after the regular season failed, with the NFC vs AFC format, unconference matchups and a variety of tweaks all not generating substantial interest.

While it’s been known for months that the Pro Bowl would be eliminated, there was uncertainty for how the league would seek to replace it. It appears there is now an answer with tentative plans that the league hopes generate excitement from fans and players.

According to Rob Maadi of the Associated Press, the NFL will be implementing a weeks-long skills competition between AFC and NFC players. It will all wrap up on Sunday, Feb. 5 at Allegiant Stadium with a flag football game involving the best NFL players in 2022.

Related: Green Bay Packers’ Pro Bowl corner Jaire Alexander dealing with groin injury

NFL introduces Pro Bowl Games

NFL: Pro Bowl-NFC at AFC

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL previously included the Pro Bowl Skills challenge in recent years to generate interest and find new ways to get players more involved in a fun way. The drills included the fastest man competition, a dodgeball game, a precision-passing battle and a contest called “Thread the Needle” for quarterbacks. With the move to a weeks-long event, there will be more opportunities for kickers, linemen and other position players to put their skills on display.

Shortly after Maadi’s reporting, the NFL officially announced the Pro Bowl Games, which will be presented by Berizon and air on ABC and ESPN.

Peyton Manning will reportedly be heavily involved in the flag football game, coaching one of the teams. The new Pro Bowl format will also work directly with Omaha Production, Manning’s entertainment company.

Related: 3 New York Giants who could earn first Pro Bowl appearance in 2022