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The Pro Bowl has new, confusing rules that should make the Pro Bowl even less enjoyable

Smaller goal posts! More timeouts! Wait, why would you give them more timeouts? Can't we just get this over with?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Were you planning on watching the Pro Bowl this weekend? No? Well you won't be able to resist after hearing about the new rules the NFL has put in place! That's right, the league is making goal posts thinner for the first time since the 1920s!

The NFL announced Tuesday that the width of the goal posts will narrow from 18 feet to 14 feet for Sunday's all-star game.

Goal posts in the NFL have sat at a width of 18 feet 6 inches since the 1920s, but the league continues to toy with making kicks more challenging.

Bust out the cooler and invite the gang over -- this game's gonna have more missed field goals than you could possibly dream of!

But wait -- ESPN reports the game will also have longer extra points, and ... what's that, AP report?

The uprights will be at the standard 18.6 feet for field goal attempts, but will be squeezed down to 14 feet on extra points. The kick also will be moved back from the 2-yard line to the 15, essentially making it a 33 1/2-yard field goal.

How would that even work? Robot goalposts? Would they have an extra set of goalposts at 14 feet but only pay attention to them on extra points?

We're inclined to believe the NFL here because its their gig, but the fact that three reputable news organizations have three completely different interpretations of how field goals are going to work here is a bit silly.

But wait -- there's more!

Teams will be granted two timeouts per quarter instead of the customary three timeouts per half. If teams use just one timeout in the first or third periods, they can carry over one to the second and fourth quarters, respectively.


This in addition to a slew of other rules instituted last year, such as the clock stopping on gains of less than a yard (except on sacks in the final two minutes of the game) and the ball changing hands each quarter rather than each half.

At least the procedure for deciding teams should be easy to figure out. Right?

On Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, there will be a coin toss at the Pro Bowl press conference. The winner will choose between the captain group or first pick in the pre-selection draft and the prime-time Wednesday Jan. 21, 2015 drafts. If the winner of the coin flip chooses a captain group, the loser will be assigned the other captain group and have first pick in the pre-selection draft and the prime-time Jan. 21, 2015 drafts. If the winner of the coin flip chooses first pick in the pre-selection draft and the prime-time Jan. 21, 2015 drafts, the loser will pick a captain group.


On Jan. 21, 2015, players selected/assigned during the pre-selection draft will be recognized at the outset of the show. All players will be given and wear their team's Pro Bowl jersey. All players being drafted on Wednesday night's show will wear their NFL team jersey. The remaining players are drafted in a two-hour live show on NFL Network on Wednesday night Jan. 21, 2015.


The regular-ass Pro Bowl wasn't great, but there's nothing about installing confusing one-off rules and strange selection procedures that makes it more entertaining. In fact, it makes the whole thing reek of gimmickry. When the league went from NFC vs. AFC to last year's "Team Sanders" vs. "Team Rice" format, viewership dropped. The Pro Bowl is never going to be must-watch TV, and random overhauls probably aren't the wisest way to go.