Jul 31, 2013, 3:40 PM EDT
On Wednesday, the National Football League announced sweeping changes to its annual All-Star event — the Pro Bowl — which included a new format first implemented by the National Hockey League.
The NFL will conduct a “fantasy draft” at the Pro Bowl, ditching the traditional AFC vs. NFC format while adhering to the “players pick the players” idea started by the NHL in 2011.
Here’s the official statement, from NFL.com:
Players will be assigned to teams through the Pro Bowl Draft, in which two leading vote getters will join two NFL.com fantasy football champions — who will attend the Pro Bowl — to draft players.
The fantasy football champions will have Hall of Fame help. Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will serve as alumni team captains, assisting the Pro Bowl team captains and fantasy football champions in the draft process.
“As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment,” [NFLPA President Domonique] Foxworth said. “To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.”
The NHL’s first-ever All-Star fantasy draft occurred during the 2011 contest in Carolina. The format was slightly different as players voted on captains — Niklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal — and they were in charge of selecting the teams.
The Pro Bowl draft will air on Wednesday, January 22 on NFL Network. Four days later, the game will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, televised by NBC.
- Wild hold off late Avalanche push to even series at 2-2 15
- Bruins scratch out OT win, push Red Wings to brink 20
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at L.A. Kings 0
- WATCH LIVE: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild (Game 4) 5
- Monster of a surprise: Red Wings start Gustavsson over Howard 5
- WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings (Game 4) 2
- Bylsma rips Penguins, calls effort level ‘troubling’ 64
- Cooke: I didn’t intend to collide knee-on-knee with Barrie 99
- On ‘score effects,’ and the challenges of playing with the lead 11
- MacKinnon: Avs ‘shut ourselves down’ in Game 3, not Wild 29
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (137)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Wild’s Cooke offered in-person hearing for knee-on-knee collision with Barrie (111)