— With its big-time talent coming out of college and the first-ever NFL players in attendance, the 2016 Pro Bowl became the first NFL game in 25 years to feature only college athletes.
With just eight players in the Pro Bowl and plenty of time left to fill out the rosters, the NFL was forced to make a big change.
With no college players in a position to make the game a reality, it opted to put the entire league on a one-day hold.
The NFL will return to the Pro-Bowl in 2017, where players from all divisions will be eligible for the game.
Newcomers welcomed to the game, including first-round draft picks Jared Goff, Blake Bortles, Carson Wentz and Teddy Bridgewater, will be the only players from the NFL in the NFL Championship Game, which will be played in Charlotte, N.C., on Jan. 6.
The only rule change for the Pro Bowler selection in the 2017 Pro Bowl is that the quarterback will be invited to the NFL Combine on Jan 25.
The league’s executive committee will decide on a schedule for the pro day on March 10, a decision that is expected to be announced soon.
There will be no changes to the preseason schedule and the Pro Football Hall of Fame will host its 37th induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Feb. 11.
The Pro Bowl will also host its 49th reunion in 2019.
There are a number of changes coming to the 2017 game, such as the removal of all helmets and other protective equipment from the field and removing all fans in the stands.
There will be a limit of four players per team and no more than five players per coach, but teams will be allowed to bring in a backup quarterback, an assistant coach or a full-time scout, according to the league.
A new rule will allow coaches to designate players to the sideline for specific plays.
If a player is injured or has an illness, a coach can ask for the player to sit down to rest and be monitored, according the league, but if the player is on the field during a play, the coach can leave the field for the play.
If a player receives a holding penalty, the team must make a play for it and then attempt to make another play.
If there is no play, a team can use the same tactic to force a penalty.
The Pro Bowl, which is scheduled to take place Feb. 24 in New Orleans, has never been held in Charlotte.