Flag soccer a success with gamers at revamped Pro Bowl

LAS VEGAS — No one was going to mistake this for a severe soccer sport. Not with celebrities Snoop Dogg (AFC) and Pete Davidson (NFC) serving as honorary group captains.

But the revamped Pro Bowl Games resulted in higher depth than current years and the primary NFC victory for the reason that AFC vs. NFC format was reintroduced in 2017. In entrance of 58,331 followers at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, the NFC received 35-33 within the reimagined occasion that now consists of a sequence of expertise competitions and three separate flag soccer video games.

The flag video games themselves had been noticeably extra aggressive than the usual video games of current years, regardless of not being of the standard sort out selection. The diminished threat of damage seemingly motivated gamers to go tougher.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I think it turned out pretty well,” Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith mentioned. “It got very competitive at the end, and I think that’s what they wanted.”

With the AFC coming into the ultimate flag sport main the general scoring 21-15, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins led an NFC rally with three landing passes within the last sport, which consists of two 10-minute halves. Cousins hit 49ers teammates Kyle Juszczyk and George Kittle for 2 of his scores, with Detroit Lions broad receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown accounting for the opposite.

The transfer to flag soccer was a product of prolonged discussions between the NFL and its gamers and union, with all sides agreeing that the sort out format marked by uncompetitive play was not slicing it and turning off followers.

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But the sport was not with out a considerably unlucky occasion, with Cleveland Browns defensive finish Myles Garrett struggling an damage throughout one of many expertise competitions. Reportedly a dislocated toe, the damage left Garrett limping badly.

Then there was Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey slamming into Miami Dolphins wideout Tyreek Hill, forcefully knocking Hill out of bounds on the aim line. Hill was nice, however the play drew an pointless roughness penalty — one thing nobody anticipated to see in a contact-free model of the Pro Bowl.

Still, the concept of a sport that does not topic gamers to extra hits after a 17-game season was compelling to the members.

“I definitely don’t need to take more hits,” San Francisco 49ers working again Christian McCaffrey mentioned. “So, I’m a proponent for it.”

The day featured what was seemingly Derek Carr’s last look on this metropolis as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. He drew a loud ovation from the locals throughout participant introductions earlier than having a combined efficiency throughout Game 3 (two landing passes and an interception).

Smith, who performed within the first flag sport, led NFC quarterbacks with 239 yards and 5 touchdowns on 14-of-16 passing. Dallas Cowboys broad receiver CeeDee Lamb caught six passes for 102 yards to steer all NFC pass-catchers.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley had the AFC’s greatest passing efficiency, finishing 15 of 20 passes for 192 yards and 4 touchdowns. Stefon Diggs led the AFC in receiving with 4 catches for 99 yards, together with a 45-yard landing.

The AFC had the sting within the expertise occasions, successful 5 of the eight competitions unfold out over two days (together with the Kick-Tac-Toe and move-the-chains occasions on Sunday). But the NFC’s capacity to win two of the three flag soccer video games put it excessive.

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Look for the occasion to take the same form sooner or later because the league takes suggestions from the gamers and followers.

“Overall, it was a very cool experience,” Arizona Cardinals security Budda Baker mentioned. “It was definitely a good experience for the fans to be able to see our faces, since we’re always in helmets. It was really good to interact with them.

“So, yeah, let’s hold it going, for positive.”