Huge changes made to Pro Bowl


The Pro Bowl games were held in Las Vegas this year.

The Pro Bowl games were held on Feb. 2 and Feb 6 in Las Vegas, which marked a major change for the big game. Gone are the days of a single tackle football game. Now, the new era of skills challenges and flag football is being ushered in.

The new Pro Bowl format featured a variety of games, including dodgeball, best catch, gridiron gauntlet, longest drive, kick tac toe, move the chains, lightning round, precision passing, and the flag football main event.

Each event had a winning division, which earned points for their total score. All of the events were worth 3 points, except for the first two flag football games. Those were the most important, being worth 6 points each.

Then, those points were tallied up and became the beginning score of the final flag football game. Due to the AFC winning more challenges, they began the final game with a  21-15 lead. The winner of the final game won the whole event.

Junior Brady Barrowman took the trip to Vegas and enjoyed the experience. He felt there were enough star players there to make up for the ones that didn’t come.

“I think it’s better than it was before,” Barrowman said. “The players were a little more enthusiastic, they wanted to try harder.”

The NFC ended up pulling off the comeback victory, with a 3-touchdown performance from Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins in the final flag football game. This gave his team a 35-33 victory over the AFC.

This change in format came for a variety of reasons, the main two being players opting out and a decrease in fan interest for the Pro Bowl. Lots of players have chosen to skip the Pro Bowl in recent years so as to not risk getting injured, and ratings and viewership of the game have long been on the decline.

So what did people think about the new Pro Bowl? This was the question asked to MCHS students, who had varying opinions of the topic.

Some people really enjoyed it, including sophomore Jake Simpson. He felt that the new games are a lot more fun than the standard option and that it functioned better than any other alternative.

“The changes needed to happen because there was no need for a full on game,” Simpson said. “Flag football plus the mini games are way more fun than anything else.”

The big change made some people feel the Pro Bowl wasn’t worth watching. One of these people was junior Kyle Koener. Koener enjoyed watching highlights from the skills competition after the fact, but didn’t like the change to a flag football game.

“I don’t think it’s as fun as it used to be,” Koener said. “I didn’t like the flag game, but I did like the little games added.”

Koener also felt that players opting out hurt the Pro Bowl, with big stars being filled in for by less exciting players hurting its legitimacy. Players like Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley made the roster due to the amount of people choosing to not play.

Overall, it seems the majority of people really liked the skills challenges, but there is some debate on flag football. Early signs point to the change being a success, and the new rules could bring back the success of past Pro Bowls.