In a tweet on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed that the NFL’s Probowl is switching from a AFC vs. NFC format to ProBowl fantasy-draft type game. Oh. And they’re also taking away kickoffs.
The new format will have 4 team captains and those captains will then choose their own roster, no matter the conference, to make up a team of 43 men. Two captains are chosen based on whoever gets the most amount of votes, the other two captains will be Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders.
What’s interesting is that in addition to the 4 captains, 2 winners from NFL’s fantasy football league will also get the chance to assist in the Probowl fantasy draft. Which would be cool, if I actually used NFL for my fantasy site manager.
Other changes include:
• A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters in addition to the traditional rule in the second and fourth quarters. Possession also will change hands after each quarter.
• Defenses will be allowed to play Cover 2 and press coverage. In the past, only man coverage had been allowed, except for goal-line situations.
• Changes will be made to the game clock during the two-minute warning, with the clock stopping if the offense doesn’t gain at least 1 yard, in order to encourage offenses to try to gain yardage at the end of each quarter.
• In addition, the clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the game referee except during the two-minute warnings and the final five minutes of the game.
• The game will use a 35-second/25-second play clock instead of the traditional 40-second/25-second clock.
• Also, the game clock will not stop on sacks of the quarterback, outside of the game’s final two minutes.
One person who’s not happy about the change is Raiders kick returner, Josh Cribbs. He says “I’m glad I made the pro bowl when I did doing what I love to do, & being the best at it…”.
But there were a couple other tweets sent out that clearly show he’s upset about the change.
While I don’t think these changes will be enough to satisfy the NFL in their ratings hunger, however, I do think this is an experiment to see how the public and players react to kickoffs being eliminated from the game.
Goodell has expressed interest in that past of wanting to remove kickoffs to increase player safety and this could be the way to get the fans used to idea before the league-wide change takes effect in the years to come.
What would help the league the most is making the Probowl in the same city as the Superbowl and holding it the week before. Most of the players are already in town and if you hold it during the week lull of no football, you get the most eyes on your product and you give the announcers something to talk about instead of rehashing the same stories for two weeks.
What do you think about the changes? Will it make you want to watch the Probowl?