The quality of play in the Pro Bowl has often been criticized. The players, understandably concerned about getting injured, see it more as an exhibition than a competition.

LAS VEGAS — The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with a weeklong skills competition and a football game, according to the Associated Press.

The new event will replace the full-contact showcase that began in 1951. It will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills over several days. The 2023 games will be held in Las Vegas, with flag football at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, February 5.

Peyton Manning and his company Omaha Productions will help shape the program and promote the event’s content throughout the week. Manning, a 14-time Pro Bowl selection during his Hall of Fame career, will provide his perspective as well as join the coaching staff for the flag game.

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“The Pro Bowl is something we’ve looked at for a while, really continues to develop,” NFL executive Peter O’Reilly told The Associated Press. “Coming off of last year’s game, we really made the decision based on a lot of internal conversations, getting feedback from the general managers and coaches, getting a lot of feedback from the players. We think there is a real opportunity here to do something completely different and move away from the traditional football game. We decided to celebrate 88 of the NFL’s biggest stars in a really positive, fun, yet competitive way.

“The feedback from the guys who recently went to the Pro Bowl was to keep the structure of the week, make sure you have that multi-day element. It’s been extremely positive from both the players and the clubs.”

The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and remained there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972 to 1980. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and since then the game has had several homes, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

The quality of play in the Pro Bowl has often been criticized. The players are understandably worried about getting injured, seeing it more as an exhibition than a competition. Flag football could increase competition by avoiding potential injuries from tackling, blocking and tackling.

The NFL has a strong interest in flag football. The league is partnering with the International Federation of American Football to bring flag football to the World Games in July with an eye on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“You touch on all the things that feel great about Pro Bowl week, the skills, the helmets off, the interactions, and then you culminate that, keeping the AFC-NFC build, in something very important, which is flag football and being able to have the best athletes the NFL plays this game that says so much about the future of our sport,” said O’Reilly, the league’s executive vice president of club business and league events. “It’s been an evolution, but coming out of Las Vegas last year, we really focused on how to reinvent and celebrate our All-Stars even better.”

The league plans to announce the new format on Monday.

“The Pro Bowl has always been a time to step back and celebrate the game of football with teammates, fans and family,” Manning told the AP. “I am grateful to continue to be involved this week as all of us at Omaha Productions work with the NFL to redefine The Pro Bowl Games. Turning Sunday’s game into flag football is awesome. Youth football has been extremely important to me, and knowing that the NFL FLAG will help grow the sport, I hope that boys and girls can see themselves in the same game as the best players in the world.”

Fan voting will still help determine the AFC and NFC rosters. Tom Brady has the most Pro Bowl invitations with 15. Four players have received 14 invitations, including Manning. The East-West Shrine Bowl will be played at Allegiant Stadium on Thursday, February 2nd.