NFL Pro Bowl
Kirby Lee | USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has finally decided to put the Pro Bowl out of its misery.

From The Associated Press:

The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game, The Associated Press has learned.

The new event will replace the full-contact showcase started in 1951. It will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills in challenges over several days. The 2023 Games will be held in Las Vegas, and the flag football game at Allegiant Stadium is Feb. 5.

This is long overdue. And now the NFL also will get several nights of primetime television programming out of it prior to Super Bowl week. Which means even more money to stuff into the coffers. The shield always win.

The Pro Bowl made sense back in the day. All-star games meant something. And players cared about winning. That prize money meant they didn’t have to take as many shifts at the bowling alley in the offseason. But the game had deteriorated into a colossal joke where no one (understandably) played actual football. And it was always useless in defining the actual best players in the sport. Evan Engram made the Pro Bowl, for goodness sake. Plus all the opt-outs that inevitably occurred.

The NFL had two choices here: Provide some ridiculous purse for the winning team — the bidding likely would have had to start at $1 million per player — or do away with the game entirely. They chose the latter.

Also from the AP:

Peyton Manning and his Omaha Productions company will help shape programming and promote the event’s content throughout the week. Manning, a 14-time Pro Bowl pick during his Hall of Fame career, will provide his perspective and will also be a part of the coaching staff for flag game.

Eli Manning coaching the NFC and Peyton Manning coaching the AFC would be pretty fun, no?

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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.