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2015 Pro Bowl to feature narrowed goal posts

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This year's Pro Bowl will feature a pair of new rule tweaks.

Confirming a report from last month, 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, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

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. This preseason saw the NFL move the extra point back to 33 yards, which led to eight misses in 33 games -- as opposed to just five whiffs from 19 yards during the 2013 regular season.

Sunday's Pro Bowl also will help both coaching staffs -- led by John Harbaugh of the Ravens and Jason Garrett of the Cowboys -- with increased timeouts. 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.

Along with these rule changes, the game will feature the following aspects introduced in last year's Pro Bowl:

Offensive and defensive MVPs: The media will choose two game MVPs, one offensive player and one defensive player. Each MVP will be presented with a new GMC vehicle and an MVP medallion.

Game within the game: A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters, with the ball changing hands after each quarter.

No kickoffs: A coin toss will determine which team is first awarded possession. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays.

Rosters: The rosters will now consist of 44 players per side, including an additional defensive back for roster flexibility.


Tune into NFL Network's Pro Bowl coverage, Sun. at 5 p.m. ET.

Cover 2 and press coverage: Defenses will be permitted to play Cover 2 and press coverage. In previous years, only man coverage was permitted, save for goal-line situations.

Stopping of the game clock: Beginning at the two-minute mark of each quarter, if the offense fails to gain at least 1 yard, the clock will stop as if the play were an incomplete pass.

Game timing: The game clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the referee, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.

Play clock: A 35-second/25-second play clock will be adopted instead of the typical 40-second/25-second clock.

Sacks: The game clock will not stop on quarterback sacks outside of the final two minutes of the game. The game clock currently stops in these situations outside of two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps Championship Sunday, and breaks down the Seahawks' historic comeback against the Packers. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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