NFL scraps the Pro Bowl in favor of flag football, skills competition
The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with a weeklong skills competition and flag football game.
Why it matters: This is as much about getting rid of a struggling event as it is about elevating flag football — a critical piece of the NFL's growth plans.
Details: The new event will be called "The Pro Bowl Games," and the inaugural event will take place in Las Vegas this upcoming February, the week before Super Bowl LVII.
The big picture: This is the NFL's latest push to bring flag football to the masses.
- As of 2018, more kids in the U.S. were playing flag than tackle thanks largely to NFL Flag, the nation's largest youth league with over 500,000 participants.
- The NFL is pushing for flag football to be included in the Olympics — part of its effort to attract more international fans.
- Flag has exploded among girls thanks largely to the NFL and Nike committing $5 million to incentivize high schools to add the sport.
The backdrop: Even without the benefits of raising flag football's profile, the Pro Bowl was long overdue for a makeover.
- Players regularly opt out, and those who do play struggle to put on an entertaining show as tackle football at half speed and effort just doesn't really work.
- Dwindling interest reached its newest low last year, when the game drew its smallest audience since 2006 (6.7 million).