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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


New Look of the NFL Pro Bowl Generates Excitement

Due to concerns over injuries in an exhibition contest, in 2023 the NFL debuted the Pro Bowl Games, a series of non contact events. Photo: Getty Images.

The NFL Pro Bowl games were held on Feb. 1 and 4. This year, the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys are tied for the most representatives, with seven each. Tua Tagovailoa and Brock Purdy were selected as the starting quarterbacks for the two teams, but Purdy was not able to participate because of the 49ers Super Bowl run. 

The Pro Bowl is a showcase of the NFL’s most talented players, who are selected through a combination of fan, player and coach voting. Each group of votes were counted as one-third towards the determination of the players. The selected players will be split into two teams by their regular season conference, either the American Football Conference (AFC) or the National Football Conference (NFC). 

Both experts and fans have debated this year’s “snubs:” outstanding players who were not selected to the event. Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed are among the most surprising defensive players to be left out of this year’s event. 

Winfield recorded a nine-turnover season where he was tied for the most forced fumbles in the league. He also boasts an impressive 90.4 Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade, which ranks him second among free safeties according to the system. 

Although Sneed’s stats are not the most impressive, he has been a major factor in the Chiefs’ defensive success, which carried into the playoffs.

On the offensive side, quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, playing for the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers respectively, stand out as the biggest snubs. 

Although Allen had a slow start to the season, he came into full form as the season progressed. Allen put up over 4,000 passing yards and a 69.6 total quarterback rating (QBR), finishing in the top 4 for both stats amongst quarterbacks this season.  

Even though Aiyuk would not have been able to participate in the Pro Bowl, many experts believe he certainly deserved the votes. He led one of the best offenses in the league in both yards and receptions in a career year. Aiyuk amassed over 1,300 yards, despite playing in an offense that distributed the ball to various different players.

The Pro Bowl has undergone a lot of change in recent years; up until 2023, the Pro Bowl was a full contact football game. However, concerns over injury in an exhibition contest led to major changes, leading the game to look quite different from  the regular season, resulting in a large deflation of fan interest. 

Because of this, the NFL created the Pro Bowl Games, a collection of noncontact events ranging from closest to the pin golf shots to the flag football game, which is typically the most anticipated. This new format gives a reinvigorated life to the Pro Bowl that has been absent in recent years.

The Pro Bowl’s opening events were dodgeball and precision passing. Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield won the precision passing event for the NFC, and the two teams split the dodgeball series. The NFC was able to sweep all of the games on Sunday, excluding the kicking tic-tac-toe that the Ravens’ Justin Tucker won. The games won by the NFC included the Gridiron Gauntlet, Madden and tug of war. 

The last game played was flag football. It was a close game from start to finish but the NFC pulled off the win with a score of 64 to the AFC’s 59. Overall the new format has proven beneficial for both fans and players. The players avoid  injury and the fans are able to watch the best athletes in the country play classic games.

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