NFL, NFLPA Make Pro Bowl Participation Mandatory After Changes for 2022 Events

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 29, 2022

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 28: A general view of the Pro Bowl Logo on the field at Camping World Stadium before the start of 2018 Pro Bowl Game between the AFC Team against the NFC Team on January 28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The NFL has removed the Pro Bowl this season, but the newly created Pro Bowl Games will be mandatory for players, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

"Players selected will be required to participate in the event," the league wrote to the NFL Players Association in a side letter. "Players who have a medical issue, however, may be excused from participation."

Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press reported earlier this week the NFL will no longer have the standard tackle football game for the league's All-Stars. There will instead be a series of skill competitions and a flag football game that will take place on Feb. 5, the week before the Super Bowl.

As Florio noted, offensive and defensive linemen won't participate in the flag football game, but they will compete in other activities that Sunday.

Getting buy-in from the players might have been the toughest challenge, with the initial collective bargaining agreement saying participation in any Pro Bowl replacement would be voluntary, per Florio.

It's now clear the NFL will not take no for an answer.

Player participation had been one of the bigger issues for the Pro Bowl in its previous form. Last year's event saw five quarterbacks—including Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady—withdraw from the competition. It left Mac Jones and Kirk Cousins among the 11 quarterbacks officially selected to the Pro Bowl.

The revamped competition could generate more interest among fans if it truly features the best in the game at each position.

Players will also get a bonus based on their success at the Las Vegas event, with winners receiving $84,000 each, while the losing team gets $42,000 each.