The Pro Bowl will always have it’s fair share of critics, but the Dallas Cowboys fans will be happy to watch a large number of players representing America’s Team this year. After a heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs, this Pro Bowl should offer some excitement to help ease the lingering pain.
Under the new format which began last year, the Pro Bowl now consists of two retired NFL stars that each handpick their squad through a draft. Michael Irvin and Cris Carter chose each team on Wednesday, which was surprisingly enjoyable for viewers. After all, we were reminded how far quarterback Tony Romo has come in his career when Irvin used the second overall pick to draft Romo in front of the league’s top players.
"“This is what the fans want see. They want to see a team get picked and go by step-by-step. And it has some of the same similarities that the draft does. The excitement. You get the fans involved.” – Von Miller"
Out of the eight current Cowboys players invited to the Pro Bowl, all but two of them are on Team Irvin. Wide receiver Dez Bryant opted out of attending due to an injury, and long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur was automatically assigned to Team Carter.
That leaves DeMarco Murray, Jason Witten, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, and Tony Romo all suiting up together on Team Irvin. Irvin also selected Jason Garrett and his assistants to be the coaching staff.
Not only will it be exciting to watch many of the favorite Cowboys play against the best players in the league, the NFL has also made interesting rule changes over the past two years to help spice up the game. Listed below are rules to remember in the Pro Bowl via NFL.com:
- No kickoffs: there will be a coin toss to determine who gets possession of the ball, and each possession will begin at the 25-yard line.
- More two-minute warnings: there will be a two-minute warning in every quarter, not just the second and fourth quarters. The ball will change possession after each quarter.
- Cover 2 and press coverage: the defense is now permitted to play “cover 2” and “press” coverage, rather than “man” coverage in previous years.
- Narrower uprights: the goal posts for the 2015 Pro Bowl will be narrowed from 18 feet to 14 feet.
- More timeouts: each team will be given two timeouts per quarter. Only one timeout can carry-over into the second or fourth quarter if it was not used.
- Stopping of the game clock: at the start of the two-minute drill each quarter, the clock will stop if the offense fails to gain at least one yard. This will help each team attempt to gain yardage.
- Play clock: a 35-second/25-second play clock will be adopted instead of the usual 40-second/25-second clock.
Whether the Andrew Luck-led Team Carter or the Tony Romo-led Team Irvin come out with a victory, we can assure the game itself will be full of enjoyment unlike previous years of halfhearted effort.
Be sure to watch the “Cowboys Bowl” on January 25th at 8:00 pm EST on ESPN.
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