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NFL tests new “Spot and Choose’ method at 2022 Pro Bowl

The Pro Bowl will feature a new way teams can decide who gets the ball and where teams start the first and second half.

Recording artist Ciara holds a football for son Future Wilburn to kick during NFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pro Bowl will once again be a testing ground for some interesting rule changes. There are already significant differences in the official rules and the Pro Bowl rules, as they’ve worked at making the game safer by eliminating kickoffs, no blitzing, intentional grounding is allowed, no blocks below the waist, a tight end and running back are required in all formations and there is no pre-snap motion.

This season, they are testing a new rule that was proposed for overtime by the Baltimore Ravens last off-season called the Spot and Choose method.

Here are the new options to start each half

The winner of the coin toss must choose between one of the two privileges, and the loser of the toss is given the other. The two privileges are:

“Spot” – place the ball on the field for the first play of the first quarter, including the designation of direction OR

“Choose” – decide whether to start on offense or defense from the other team’s designated spot and direction

Regardless of which privilege is chosen by the winner of the toss, Privilege A (Spot) is to be exercised before Privilege B (Choose), so that the selection of whether to play offense or defense is made after the starting field position is chosen.

To start the second half, the loser of the start-of-game coin toss has the option to choose one of the two privileges, with the other team given the other.

This rule of course eliminates kickoffs, which the NFL continues to try to make safer, but it also adds new strategy. The question is, where is the most neutral placement for the ball? In the NFL now, the ball is placed in the 25-yard line when it is downed in the end zone, but, in this case, the team who chooses where they want to spot the ball would need to find a middle ground, where it would feel like a 50-50 proposition of scoring and according to NFL research, the 13-yard line is that exact spot. But, there would be other factors involved in choosing to take the ball or bring out your defense. It would be interesting to see how it would play out over a year or two.

The 2022 Pro Bowl will also continue with two rule changes from previous years. The most notable is the ability to take the ball back after scoring, but they would get the ball on their own 25-yard line and the down and distance would be 4th and 15. This would be instead of a onside kick to give the trailing team a chance late in the game.

Following a successful field goal or try attempt, the scoring team (Team A), has the following options:

Team A may elect to give Team B the ball at Team B’s 25-yard line (1st-and-10), beginning a new series of downs.

Team A may elect to take the ball at their own 25-yard line (4th-and-15).

If Team A is successful in making a first down, Team A will maintain possession and a new series of downs will continue as normal.

If Team A is unsuccessful in making a first down, the result will be a turnover on downs and Team B will take possession at the dead ball spot.

Additionally, a 35/25 second play clock will be used instead of the normal 40/25 second clock. After an incomplete pass, the game clock will start on the Referee’s signal, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half. Within the normal timing rules, the game clock does not start after an incomplete pass.