NFL Pro Bowl 2014: Date, Kickoff Time, Unconferenced Rosters, Format and More

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NFL Pro Bowl 2014: Date, Kickoff Time, Unconferenced Rosters, Format and More
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Thanks to a few big changes in format, the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl could prove more exciting than what fans have been treated to in the past. The annual event takes place this year on Sunday, Jan. 26 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, and it will be broadcasted on NBC beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

One huge change to the way the league has done things in the past is seen in the Pro Bowl roster, which is "Unconferenced" for the first time in history. What this means is that players were selected by fans, coaches and players without regard to which conference they played in. 

Essentially, the "best" players at every position got in.

Here's a quick look at when and where you can catch the game, along with the full roster. Afterward, keep reading for a closer look at the new format and more. 

 

USA TODAY Sports

When: Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Watch: NBC

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra

 

Roster

Offense

Pos. Player Team
QB Tom Brady New England Patriots
QB Drew Brees New Orleans Saints
QB Andrew Luck* Indianapolis Colts
QB Peyton Manning Denver Broncos
QB Cam Newton Carolina Panthers
QB Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers
QB Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks
QB Nick Foles* Philadelphia Eagles
WR Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers
WR Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys
WR Larry Fitzgerald* Arizona Cardinals
WR Josh Gordon Cleveland Browns
WR A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals
WR Andre Johnson Houston Texans
WR Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions
WR Brandon Marshall Chicago Bears
WR Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos
WR DeSean Jackson* Philadelphia Eagles
WR Alshon Jeffery* Chicago Bears
OT Branden Albert Kansas City Chiefs
OT Jason Peters Philadelphia Eagles
OT Tyron Smith Dallas Cowboys
OT Joe Staley San Francisco 49ers
OT Joe Thomas Cleveland Browns
OT Trent Williams Washington Redskins
OT Duane Brown* Houston Texans
OG Jahri Evans New Orleans Saints
OG Ben Grubbs New Orleans Saints
OG Mike Iupati San Francisco 49ers
OG Logan Mankins New England Patriots
OG Louis Vasquez Denver Broncos
OG Marshal Yanda Baltimore Ravens
OG Evan Mathis* Philadelphia Eagles
C Ryan Kalil Carolina Panthers
C Alex Mack Cleveland Browns
C Nick Mangold* New York Jets
C Mike Pouncey Miami Dolphins
C Max Unger Seattle Seahawks
TE Jordan Cameron Cleveland Browns
TE Vernon Davis San Francisco 49ers
TE Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints
TE Julius Thomas Denver Broncos
TE Jason Witten* Dallas Cowboys
RB Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs
RB Matt Forte Chicago Bears
RB Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers
RB Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks
RB LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles
RB Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
RB Eddie Lacy* Green Bay Packers
RB Alfred Morris* Washington
FB Marcel Reece Oakland Raiders
FB Mike Tolbert Carolina Panthers

*Denotes replacement

 

Defense

Pos. Player Team
DE Greg Hardy Carolina Panthers
DE Cameron Jordan New Orleans Saints
DE Robert Quinn St. Louis Rams
DE Cameron Wake Miami Dolphins
DE J.J. Watt Houston Texans
DE Mario Williams Buffalo Bills
DT Jason Hatcher* Dallas Cowboys
DT Gerald McCoy Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DT Haloti Ngata Baltimore Ravens
DT Dontari Poe Kansas City Chiefs
DT Justin Smith San Francisco 49ers
DT Ndamukong Suh Detroit Lions
DT Kyle Williams Buffalo Bills
OLB John Abraham Arizona Cardinals
OLB Ahmad Brooks San Francisco 49ers
OLB Tamba Hali Kansas City Chiefs
OLB Justin Houston Kansas City Chiefs
OLB Robert Mathis Indianapolis Colts
OLB Terrell Suggs Baltimore Ravens
MLB NaVorro Bowman San Francisco 49ers
MLB Vontaze Burfict Cincinnati Bengals
MLB Luke Kuechly Carolina Panthers
MLB Patrick Willis San Francisco 49ers
CB Brandon Flowers Kansas City Chiefs
CB Brent Grimes Miami Dolphins
CB Joe Haden Cleveland Browns
CB Patrick Peterson Arizona Cardinals
CB Darrelle Revis Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks
CB Aqib Talib New England Patriots
CB Alterraun Verner Tennessee Titans
FS Jairus Byrd Buffalo Bills
FS Earl Thomas Seattle Seahawks
FS Eric Weddle San Diego Chargers
SS Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs
SS Kam Chancellor Seattle Seahawks
SS Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers

*Denotes replacement

 

Special Teams

Pos. Player Team
P Brandon Fields Miami Dolphins
P Johnny Hekker St. Louis Rams
K Stephen Gostkowski* New England Patriots
K Matt Prater Denver Broncos
K Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens
PR Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
PR Dexter McCluster Kansas City Chiefs
ST Justin Bethel Arizona Cardinals
ST Matthew Slater New England Patriots
LS J.J. Jansen Carolina Panthers
LS Matt Overton Indianapolis Colts

 

Format

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
No more AFC vs. NFC, folks. This is a whole new ballgame.

After the 2013 debacle that caused the NFL to seriously consider dumping the Pro Bowl altogether, the league devised a different plan to attract interest. 

We're going to have a draft, people.

No more AFC vs. NFC and, hopefully, no more apathy.

Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice—former teammates on the San Francisco 49ers and a couple of the league's all-time greatest players—will act as team captains and make alternating selections. Both teams will end up with 43 players, as Andrew Siciliano of NFL.com notes:

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The draft will kick off on Tuesday Jan. 21. NFL.com provides the info on what to expect: 

On Tuesday, alumni captains Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice get the party started on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET, primarily by drafting offensive linemen. (One fullback, one punter and one special teamer per team are also selected.)

In total, 22 players will be selected on Tuesday.  

On Wednesday, the other 66 players will be selected. 

We could see some teammates going up against one another, depending on where they end up in the draft, which would certainly make things interesting.

However, not everyone's on board with the notion. San Francisco's Patrick Willis doesn't fancy having to tackle Frank Gore, for instance, as Taylor Price of 49ers.com points out:

It wouldn't be an NFL game without a bit of controversy, though, right?

In addition to the "Unconferenced" rosters and draft, there are other changes worth noting, as relayed by USA Today Sports' Nate Davis:

— Every quarter will end with a two-minute warning and change of possession to promote more quick-strike drives (teams will not be allowed to sit on the ball since the clock will stop on any play that doesn't gain positive yardage inside two minutes).

— There will be no kickoffs; all quarter-opening possessions will start at the 25-yard line with the first determined by coin toss.

— Kick returners will be replaced by an extra defensive back on each 43-man roster.

— Cover 2 and press coverage will now be allowed; only man-to-man coverage was allowed in the past, goal-line situations notwithstanding.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hopes these changes will improve the overall quality of play and give fans more of what they expect to see, per Davis: "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."

 

Will it Matter?

While the new format sounds exciting, it's going to be interesting to see if the players treat this upcoming Pro Bowl any differently than in recent years. 

Last year's game was so bad from an effort standpoint that ESPN's Trey Wingo predicted the entire thing would be squashed in a few more years with the same effort in the future:

Players just don't want to risk getting hurt in a game that doesn't mean anything, as B/R's Michael Schottey pointed out before last year's game:

Look, maybe once upon a time, long ago, when men were men and football was played with leather helmets, the Pro Bowl meant something. Nowadays? Nada, zilch, zip, zero. The game means nothing.

The selection process is a joke. Most of the players don't want to play (or even pretend to participate if they show up). 

The league hopes it fixed its selection process by going to the "Unconferenced" look, but not all are convinced the system is fixed—Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports being one in that camp:

At least the league is attempting to solve the problem, but it remains to be seen if these "fixes" will actually do anything to make the game more watchable. 

The draft sounds fun, but will the game be played at a high level of competition, or will the players continue to give half an effort? The way they answer this question will have a lot to do with how the Pro Bowl is viewed going forward.

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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