The 2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games are here. Well, actually, they were here Thursday too. But the festivities all build up to Sunday, so here's a refresher on the new way the NFL celebrates its stars who didn't make the Super Bowl.
We could forgive you for not hearing the league changed its much-criticized All-Star Game last year, turning it from a lightly played tackle football game to a lightly played flag football game plus a bunch of various skill contests.
Those changes returned to the Pro Bowl Games in 2024 in Orlando. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the event.
What are the 2024 Pro Bowl Games rules?
The current Pro Bowl Games format has the competition split between two days: Thursday, which is focused on various skill challenges, and Sunday, which features the actual flag football game as well as more skills challenges.
The Thursday competition had six different events: precision passing, best catch, high stakes (catching a bunch of punts), dodgeball, kick tac toe and closest to the pin (literally just golf). Sunday will have kick tac toe, move the chains, gridiron gauntlet (obstacle course relay race), Madden head-to-head, tug-of-war and finally the game.
Each of the skill events will award three points toward a team's overall score. Those scores will combine with those of the flag football game to determine who has won this thing.
The flag football game will consist of four 12-minute quarters played on a 50-yard field with 10-yard end zones. Touchdowns are still worth six points, but teams can get only an extra point by scoring from the 5-yard line. They can go for 2 from the 10-yard line.
What happened Thursday at the Pro Bowl Games?
The NFC came out of Thursday with a 12-6 game, taking a win in precision passing, closest to the pin, snap shots and a draw in dodgeball. The jury is still out on the best catch competition, as that one will be determined by an online vote.
— NFL (@NFL) February 2, 2024
Dallas Cowboys punter Bryan Anger was responsible for the closest to the pin win, while Minnesota Vikings long snapper Andrew DePaola and Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce contributed the win in snap shots.
Kelce got there with a mule-like stubbornness of aiming for the most-valuable five-point hole, which he got with his second-to-last-snap.
Jason Kelce in the long snap competition 😅
📺 ESPN pic.twitter.com/JjZOG4ucTo
— ESPN (@espn) February 2, 2024
And it turns out Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is pretty good at dodgeball.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) February 2, 2024
The AFC got its lone win from Pittsburgh Steelers special-teamer Miles Killebrew, who somehow managed to catch a punt while holding five other footballs.
How did last year's Pro Bowl Games go?
All eyes were on Saints quarterback Derek Carr at the Pro Bowl last year, since he was set to part ways with the Las Vegas Raiders at the time. Amid all of the speculation about the separation and his next move, Carr used the Thursday skills competitions to send a message to teams. He secured a win for the AFC with a 31-point performance in the Precision Passing competition between six participants.
— NFL (@NFL) February 3, 2023
As for the Pro Bowl Games that Sunday, the NFC rallied for the victory under coach Eli Manning. The win was highlighted by veteran Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who went 15-of-19 for 150 yards and recorded three touchdowns in the third and final flag football game. His heroics led to a 35-33 win in the last game. It sealed the NFC squad's comeback from the deficit created by Carr in part, as he and the AFC team had a 9-3 lead after winning three of the first four skills competitions.
Older brother Peyton Manning will be looking for the revenge win this year, but each member of his team still won $42,000 for playing. Cousins and the victorious NFC squad all collected $84,000.
What are the 2024 Pro Bowl Games rosters?
AFC Pro Bowl roster
Fullback: Alec Ingold* (Dolphins)
Strong safety: Kyle Hamilton* (Ravens)
Long snapper: Ross Matiscik (Jaguars)
Kicker: Justin Tucker (Ravens)
Punter: AJ Cole (Raiders)
Returner: Marvin Mims Jr. (Broncos)
Special teamer: Miles Killebrew (Steelers)
NFC Pro Bowl roster
Center: Jason Kelce* (Eagles), Frank Ragnow (Lions)
Free safety: Jessie Bates* (Falcons)
Long snapper: Andrew DePaola (Vikings)
Kicker: Brandon Aubrey (Cowboys)
Punter: Bryan Anger (Cowboys)
Returner: Rashid Shaheed (Saints)