The 2023 NFL Pro Bowl has switched gears from being an actual football game to a new format that includes a flag football tournament and expanded skills competition. However, the Pro Bowl roster is still an achievement that is voted on by coaches, players, and fans. Being named as a primary Pro Bowl starter has value on a player’s legacy.
However, there are factors that keep stars out of the festivities. As much as players want to go to Las Vegas to partake in the Pro Bowl Games — which includes three flag football games and a series of skills competitions — injuries and Super Bowl participation matter. The rest of the honorees will gather starting Thursday, Feb. 2, through Sunday, Feb. 5.
After reaching Super Bowl 57 with their respective teams, you won’t be seeing Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes or Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts playing in the Pro Bowl Games.
Why Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts Aren’t Playing in the 2023 Pro Bowl
The Eagles and Chiefs both made the Super Bowl, meaning both teams will have Pro Bowl representatives who won’t partake in the festivities. It’s not a surprise the league’s two No. 1 seeds were slated to send a heavy representation of stars to Las Vegas.
Kansas City’s Pro Bowl nominees who won’t play include Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, offensive tackle Orlando Brown, center Creed Humphrey, defensive tackle Chris Jones, and punter Tommy Townsend.
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Likewise, the Eagles won’t be sending Hurts, running back Miles Sanders, wide receiver A.J. Brown, offensive tackle Lane Johnson, guard Landon Dickerson, center Jason Kelce, defensive end Haason Reddick, and cornerback Darius Slay.
The absence of these 14 players opened the door for others to step into their place, and as a result, we’ll see a handful of first-time Pro Bowlers available instead. As much as we’d love to see all of these stars playing dodgeball and other fun games, they have a bigger goal at stake in Super Bowl 57.
Who Takes Patrick Mahomes’ Spot in the Pro Bowl?
It’s not as simple as a 1:1 replacement since the Pro Bowl announced several injuries and excused absences at once. Mahomes will miss the Pro Bowl due to the Super Bowl, but Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow have excused absences due to injuries. We knew of Allen’s elbow injury, but Burrow’s may be due to a broken heart after losing to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
Instead of that stellar trio, the AFC will roll out Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars), Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders), and Tyler Huntley (Baltimore Ravens) at quarterback instead. Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion and Justin Herbert’s shoulder injury further limited who was available.
The fact that Carr, who was benched and will be traded this offseason, and Huntley, who is a bad starter and the Ravens’ backup behind Lamar Jackson, are starting is a horrible look for the NFL. The NFL would’ve been better off sending only Lawrence instead of stooping to such lows.
Who Takes Jalen Hurts’ Spot in the Pro Bowl?
The NFC’s collection of QB talent is more impressive because they’re healthier. Hurts won’t play, meaning that Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff will take his place. He’ll join Seattle Seahawks passer Geno Smith and Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins at the Pro Bowl.
It would’ve been fun to see Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers in these games instead of more milquetoast personalities in Cousins and Goff, but on-field accolades mattered. It’s especially good to see Smith rewarded for his shocking breakout season.