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Radical changes made to NFL's Pro Bowl

July 31, 2013 at 9:30 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, July 31 (UPI) -- The National Football League announced Wednesday radical alterations would be made to the Pro Bowl, chief among them a draft to fill out the rosters.

There will be no kickoffs in the revamped contest and the ball will change hands after each quarter.

Teams will no longer represent the AFC and NFC, but instead 43-man rosters will be created through a draft overseen by Hall of Fame members Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders.

The current players who finish first and second in fan balloting will also take part in the draft, as will two fans who have won championships as part of the NFL.com fantasy football competitions.

In the game itself, the coin toss will determine which team will go on offense first. After points are scored, the team that gave up the points will take over at its own 25-yard line.

The first and third quarters will be treated the same as the end of the half -- with a 2-minute warning. Any play within those 2 minutes that does not gain at least a yard will result in the clock being stopped, thus eliminating the option of a quarterback kneeling down to let time run out.

The changes were agreed to by a player's committee and will be put in place for this season's game. The draft will be held Jan. 22, four days before the game is played in Honolulu.

"We were very receptive to the ideas that (NFLPA President) Domonique (Foxworth) and the players put forth," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday. "From there, our office worked closely with him in developing the concept.

"The players made it clear that they wanted to continue the Pro Bowl and were committed to making it better than ever. We think these changes will enhance the game for both fans and players."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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