NFL scraps Pro Bowl, replaces it with skills competitions and flag football game

The NFL's end-of-season All-Star game, the Pro Bowl, has been scrapped and replaced by The Pro Bowl Games, the league announced on Monday.

Set to take place the week before Super Bowl LVII, the Pro Bowl Games will pit the AFC and NFC against each other in a multi-day skills competition culminating in a flag football game on February 5 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

"We've received invaluable feedback from players, teams and fans about reimagining the Pro Bowl, and as a result, we're thrilled to use The Pro Bowl Games as a platform to spotlight Flag football as an integral part of the sport's future while also introducing fun, new forms of competition and entertainment that will bring our players, their families and fans closer than ever before," said Peter O'Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business and League Events.

"Building on the success of the 2022 Pro Bowl and 2022 Draft, as well as our strong partnership with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and Las Vegas Raiders, we look forward to bringing The 2023 Pro Bowl Games to the capital of world-class sports and entertainment."

The Pro Bowl has been a consistent feature of the NFL calendar since 1951.

Following the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, it has seen star players from the AFC and NFC face off, save for a three-year period between 2013 and 2015 when teams were drafted by legendary former players.

Yet the on-field product has received frequent criticism.

Since the 2009 season, the Pro Bowl has been held the week before the Super Bowl, firmly removing players from teams participating in the title game from the field, while many of the league's stars voted to feature in the Pro Bowl have regularly pulled out citing injury concerns.

The additional risk of injury in the exhibition led the game to become a disappointing spectacle, with players eschewing tackling and any significant contact to protect their bodies. With the changes, the league will now hope it has found a solution to a persistent problem.

The AFC won last year's game, prevailing 41-35.