clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL has finally figured out a winning Pro Bowl formula

Pit the Manning brothers against each other and make high scores inevitable. It’s actually entertaining.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Once again Peyton Manning lost to his brother Eli in Sunday’s high-scoring Pro Bowl Games as the AFC came up just short on a defensive stand at the goal line.

But everyone was a winner as the NFL seems to have finally figured out a successful formula for the reimagined Pro Bowl.

While the 7-on-7 flag football game is just not the same as real pro football, the competitive spirit is high - as evidenced by the coaches’ play call sheets (yes, they really have plays) and the frequency with which Manning and his defensive coordinator Ray Lewis argued with the refs.

And the atmosphere is just fun.

No, it’s not nearly as great as the Pro Bowls of yesteryear where true All-Star players faced off in a relatively competitive game of actual football the week after the Super Bowl to celebrate the end of the season.

But it’s far better than many of the NFL’s attempts in recent years to make this game watchable. Remember doing away with AFC v. NFC and having a fantasy draft with alumni captains? Ugh.

Even moving it to the week before the Super Bowl took away much of the hype - which was weird because it was kind of anti-climatic a week after the big game. I think we were all just still wanting to cling to some more Sunday football, we’d watch anything.

But here we are and it is what it is. We can’t go back to competitive football and we can’t seem to get rid of it as the NFLPA keeps voting to keep it (players like that cred, after all).

Two years ago, I wrote that the Pro Bowl was stupid and should be eliminated (I even suggested getting the Manning Brothers involved...genius!)

And I still kind of feel that way, but I appreciate that the NFL recognized the game had become a sham, nothing more than a pillow fight, and leaned into it.

And the result is really not all that bad. The lack of defense is annoying but if you’ve ever played flag football, you know that actually pulling off that flag is legit hard to do.

So I’m cool with a 50-34 flag football score and looking forward to the AFC actually winning the whole thing next year.

Broncos, NFL News

Broncos mock draft: Denver strengthens defensive line selecting Jer'Zhan Newton
In this seven-round mock draft, the Broncos make a couple of trades to acquire more draft picks while gaining reinforcements on defense.

Woody Paige: The answer is clear, Broncos need to draft a quality QB for next season | Subscriber Content | denvergazette.com
After a feckless Senior Bowl on Saturday the Broncos’ brain trust still has the same number of possible options at quarterback next season as miles from Denver to the Air

Broncos 7-round mock draft: 2 new targets in the passing game and a Day 3 QB - The Athletic
Sean Payton lamented the Broncos' poor red zone performance in 2023. Brock Bowers could help fix that issue as Denver's first-round pick.

Columbine High School Football Head Coach Andy Lowry named AFC recipient of NFL's 2023 Don Shula High School Coach of the Year award
The Denver Broncos Foundation and the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) recognized Lowry locally as the 2023 Denver Broncos High School Tackle Football Coach of the Year, which made him a finalist for the national award.

Have All-Star Games Outlived Their Usefulness? - WSJ
Ruben Amaro Jr., Neil Paine and Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann discuss why the showcases have lost their verve—and how to make them exciting again

NFL Pro Bowl Games 2024 winners and losers: NFC tops AFC again
While the NFC defeated the AFC once again in the Pro Bowl Games, maybe it's time to consider new coaches other than Peyton and Eli Manning.

2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games -- NFC edges AFC with defensive stand - ESPN
Of all things, it was defense that decided the Pro Bowl Games with a last-second deflection. Baker Mayfield and Demario Davis shared MVP honors.

2024 Pro Bowl Games: What We Learned from Sunday's flag football games, skill competitions
NFL.com's Grant Gordon breaks down Sunday's flag football games and skill competitions from the 2024 Pro Bowl Games featuring stars from the NFC and AFC.

Ravens' Justin Tucker downplays exchange with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce - ESPN
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker said a pregame exchange in which the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce tossed his equipment out of the way was "all in good fun."

What Senior Bowl practices revealed about Broncos' quest for a QB in 2024 NFL draft
Jim Nagy looked around the conference room and feigned surprise.

Bill Belichick pens thank-you letter to Patriots fans for 24 years of support
A few weeks after Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots agreed to mutually part ways, the legendary coach put pen to paper to thank the fans who supported him through two dozen years at the helm, taking out a full page in Sunday’s edition of the Bos

Former Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury agrees to terms with Commanders to become offensive coordinator
Former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has agreed to terms with the Washington Commanders to become their next offensive coordinator, NFL Network's Peter Schrager reported Sunday, per a source.