The Pro Bowl will look different this year, and I’m not just talking about the way the teams are selected. AFC players will be lining up along with NFC players… oh the bedlam. In addition to the fantasy football styled draft that took place late last week, the Pro Bowl will have some rather unique and different rules in place. Here’s what you will need to know:
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.
Are we looking at the future of the NFL regular season? Perhaps. Gingy has been known to tinker with the game in unexpected and dumb ways, i.e. extra point attempts. This very well could be Goodell’s ideal game format. It should be interesting to watch – the refs can barely call and manage a game as it is. Let’s see how they handle all the new clock rules.
My personal feelings on this game is that it matters not how you dress up the game with fancy new rules. As long as the players still play less than 100% each play, this thing is barely worth watching.