— Stars Will Be Realigned During Pro Bowl Draft Show Live on NFL Network on January 21 —
— Pro Bowl Kicks Off Super Bowl Week in Primetime on ESPN on Sunday, January 25 —
The 2015 Pro Bowl, presented by McDonald’s, will be played on Sunday, January 25, 2015 and televised live on ESPN at 8:00 PM ET from University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona.
For the second consecutive season, the Pro Bowl will be “unconferenced.” Gone is the familiar AFC vs. NFC match-up that had existed since 1971. Instead, players were selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.
The 2015 Pro Bowl Draft, presented by McDonald’s, will be nationally televised on January 21 with a primetime broadcast on NFL Network on Wednesday (8:00 PM ET).
Pro Football Hall of Famers CRIS CARTER and MICHAEL IRVIN will serve as alumni team captains for their Pro Bowl squads – Team Carter and Team Irvin – and have final say over draft decisions. Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN RANDLE (Team Carter) and DARREN WOODSON (Team Irvin) will serve as defensive co-captains. The NFL legends will also each be assisted by two active player captains and the winner of the Lenovo Fantasy Coach of the Year program during the draft process.
The Pro Bowl Draft will be held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. All 88 Pro Bowl players are expected to be in attendance for Wednesday’s live show. On Tuesday, January 20, 26 players (13 per team) will be subject to pre-draft selection from certain position groups – guards, centers, fullbacks, interior defensive linemen, placekickers, punters, return specialists and special teamers. The remaining players will be drafted on Wednesday during NFL Network’s live broadcast.
The 44-man teams are comprised of 21 offensive and 18 defensive players plus five specialists, including a long snapper. JOHN HARBAUGH and the coaches from the Baltimore Ravens and JASON GARRETT and the coaches from the Dallas Cowboys will lead the Pro Bowl squads. A new wrinkle to the 2015 game will have the coaching staffs be the final picks of the Pro Bowl Draft.
The below changes are being implemented to the Pro Bowl in 2015:
- Timeouts – Each team will be granted two timeouts per quarter instead of the customary three timeouts per half. If a team only uses one timeout in the first or third quarters, the team can carry one over one timeout to the second and fourth quarters, respectively.
- Narrower Goalposts – The goalposts in each end zone are narrower and were moved from 18 feet wide to 14 feet across.
In addition to the above changes, these other aspects of the Pro Bowl were introduced in 2014:
- Offensive and Defensive MVPs – Media will choose two game MVPs this year – one offensive player and one defensive player. Each MVP will be presented with a new GMC vehicle, and an MVP medallion to commemorate the achievement.
- Game within the Game – A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter. This will increase the opportunities for quarterbacks to direct “two-minute drills,” which are especially exciting for fans.
- No Kickoffs – The coin toss will determine which team is awarded possession first. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays.
- Rosters – The rosters will now consist of 44 players per side, including an additional defensive back for roster flexibility.
- Cover Two and Press Coverage – The defense will be permitted to play “cover two” and “press” coverage. In previous years, only “man” coverage was permitted, except for goal line situations.
- Stopping of the Game Clock – Beginning at the two-minute mark of every quarter, if the offense does not gain at least one yard, the clock will stop as if the play were an incomplete pass. This rule will make the team with the ball attempt to gain yardage toward the end of each quarter.
- Game Timing – The game clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the referee, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.
- Play Clock – A 35-second/25-second play clock will be adopted instead of the typical 40-second/25-second clock.
- Sacks – The game clock will not stop on quarterback sacks outside of the final two minutes of the game. Currently, the game clock stops in these situations outside of two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.
The Pro Bowl players were determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counted one-third toward determining the 86 Pro Bowl selections announced today. Two additional “need” players will be chosen by each head coach and must be long snappers. The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its all-star teams. In 1995, the NFL became the first professional sports league to offer online all-star voting.
Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each player on the winning Pro Bowl team receives $55,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $28,000.
The Pro Bowl was held consecutively from 1980 to 2009 at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium, moved to Sun Life Stadium in South Florida in 2010 and then returned to Hawaii in 2011 until last season. The 2015 Pro Bowl is the first to be played in Arizona. For just the third time, the Pro Bowl is being held in the same venue as the Super Bowl.