The 2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games were held and concluded at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas this past weekend with a reimagined take on the league’s annual version of an All-Star game. Traditionally, the Pro Bowl has been a full-scale tackle football game, but with little to play for and a serious risk of injury to players, the Pro Bowl became uninteresting and has generally degraded in quality over the years. This year, in an attempt to freshen up the event, the NFL scrapped the tackle football game and held a series of skills competitions headlined by a flag football game. At the conclusion of the weekend’s activities, the Pro Bowl Games were met with mixed reviews.
On a positive note for the league, it appears as though a majority of participating players enjoyed the fresh take on the game. Super Bowl champions Peyton and Eli Manning coached the AFC and NFC sides, respectively, bringing their charm and humor to the table. Many players were clearly more competitive in the flag football event than in previous years and could be seen enjoying themselves. Peyton Manning was even visibly upset when his AFC team ultimately lost to his brother’s NFC side and was lobbying for a penalty on the game’s final play.
The event didn’t escape criticism, however, as many fans were left unimpressed with the product. Common complaints on social media called for a reversion back to the traditional tackle football game, while others called for an end to the event all together.
QB Derek Carr was a late addition to the event, giving him one last opportunity to represent the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Carr excelled in the precision passing event, and joked with ESPN’s Ryan Clark about his soon-to-be departure from the Raiders.
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