Flag football a hit with players at revamped Pro Bowl

LAS VEGAS – No one would mistake this for a serious football game. Not with celebrities Snoop Dogg (AFC) and Pete Davidson (NFC) serving as honorary team captains.

But the revamped Pro Bowl games resulted in greater intensity than in recent years and the first NFC win since the AFC vs. NFC format was reinstated in 2017. In front of 58,331 fans at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, the NFC won 35-33 in the renewed event, which now consists of a series of skill competitions and three separate flag football games.

The flag games themselves were noticeably more competitive than the standard games of recent years, although not of the traditional tackle variety. The reduced risk of injury apparently motivated players to play harder.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I think it went pretty well,” said Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. “It ended up being very competitive and I think that’s what they wanted.”

After the AFC moved into the final flag game and led the standings 21-15, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​led an NFC rally with three touchdown passes in the final game, which consists of two 10-minute halves . Cousins ​​beat 49ers teammates Kyle Juszczyk and George Kittle for two of his points, with Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown accounting for the other.

The move to flag football was the result of lengthy discussions between the NFL and its players and the union, with all sides agreeing that the tackle format, characterized by uncompetitive play, does not cut it and turns fans off.

But the game was not without a somewhat unfortunate occurrence when Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett suffered an injury in one of the skill contests. Reportedly a dislocated toe, the injury left Garrett severely limping.

Then there was Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who rammed into Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins and violently threw Hill off the field at the goal line. Hill was fine, but the game entailed an unnecessary roughness penalty — something no one expected in a non-contact version of the Pro Bowl.

Still, the idea of ​​a game that didn’t expose players to extra hits after a 17-game season was compelling to contestants.

“I definitely don’t need to take any more hits,” said San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. “So I’m a proponent of that.”

That day was probably Derek Carr’s last appearance in the city as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. He received a loud ovation from the locals during player introductions before putting on a mixed performance (two touchdown passes and an interception) in Game 3.

Smith, playing in the first flag game, led the NFC quarterbacks with 239 yards and five touchdowns on a 14-of-16 pass. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb caught six passes for 102 yards to lead all NFC pass catchers.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley had the best passing performance in the AFC, completing 15 of 20 passes for 192 yards and four touchdowns. Stefon Diggs led the AFC with four catches for 99 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown.

The AFC came out on top in skills events, winning five of the eight competitions spread over two days (including Sunday’s Kick-Tac-Toe and Move-the-Chain events). But the NFC’s ability to win two of its three flag football games was overblown.

Watch for the event to take a similar form in the future as the league seeks feedback from players and fans.

“Overall, it was a very cool experience,” said Arizona Cardinals safety guard Budda Baker. “It was definitely a good experience for the fans to be able to see our faces as we always wear helmets. It was really good to interact with them.

“So yeah, by all means let’s get on with it.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35596198/flag-football-hit-players-revamped-pro-bowl Flag football a hit with players at revamped Pro Bowl

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emma@ustimespost.com.

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