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NFL Might Change the Pro Bowl, Or Even Eliminate It

  • Player participation and TV viewership have waned in recent years.
  • A decision on altering the format could be made this summer.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is reportedly looking into ways to improve — and possibly eliminate — the Pro Bowl that has seen player participation and TV viewership wane in recent seasons.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that owners are discussing ways to showcase the league’s talents — possibly with flag football — other than playing a traditional game that has focused more on players avoiding injury than on winning.

TV viewership on ESPN has dropped for four consecutive Pro Bowls, averaging 6.7 million for the AFC’s 41-35 victory in 2022 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas — down from eight million in ’20 and the lowest since 2006 (6 million).

In the past, festivities surrounding the annual All-Star game have included skills competitions, the East-West Shrine Bowl, and more.

The league reportedly hopes to have a decision on a new format this summer.

The NFL’s All-Star Game debuted in 1938 and was rebranded the Pro Bowl in 1950. The AFC has won the previous five showdowns.

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