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Why The Pro Bowl Changes Will Actually Mean Fewer Star Players

The 2010 Pro Bowl will be played the week before the Super Bowl for the first time, a move the NFL made in an effort to "heighten interest." The thinking is that if the game is sandwiched in between the Conference Championships and the Big Game -- and played in the same city -- then maybe some of that excitement and drama will rub off on the Pro Bowl. So, yay -- fun times in Florida!

A slight problem, though: the players that make it to the Super Bowl will not be participating in the Pro Bowl. Why risk injury one week before the biggest game of your life? ('s Steve Wyche laughably writes, "We always hear players say they'd rather compete for a Super Bowl title than to play in any other game. Now we'll really see." Really? You think a player would pick what amounts to a glorified scrimmage over the Super Bowl?)

So what if the Super Bowl is Indianapolis against Minnesota? That's 14 players not going to the Pro Bowl anymore. Who replaces them?

Pro Bowlers on Super Bowl teams will maintain their Pro Bowl status and the league plans to introduce them before kickoff. Whether all those Super Bowl Pro Bowlers will be in attendance could depend on their team’s practice schedule leading up to the championship game and if they want to, or are allowed to, break away.

Pro Bowlers on Super Bowl teams will be replaced by players who received the next amount of votes from fans, players, and coaches. In actuality, the replacement of players and the inability of others to play is nothing new. The main difference is that, in the past, players who did not take part in the Pro Bowl did so voluntarily or because of injury.