MIAMI -- The NFC beat the AFC in the annual Pro Bowl in Las Vegas on Sunday but the first edition of the all-star game's new format had more celebrities than tackles.
The NFL abandoned the traditional game between the two conferences, held in the blank weekend before the Super Bowl, after poor television ratings and feedback from players.
Instead of a regular game under NFL rules, albeit with few crunching tackles and little contact in general, the NFL chose a range of skills competitions and no-contact flag football games, branded as "The Pro Bowl Games".
The result was an event which provided a few moments of eye-catching skill but little resembling the combative battles of America's number one spectator sport.
While the sibling rivalry between Eli Manning, who coached the NFC to victory over his brother Peyton's AFC, provided some sort of narrative and generated a degree of competitive spirit, the event was more akin to a party.
Rapper Snoop Dogg "captained" the AFC team while comedian Pete Davidson had the same nominal role with the NFC team and the light-hearted approach was evident on the field.
Fans were able to see quarterbacks, free of helmets and pads, show off their passing skills, but the receivers and defensive players in the seven-a-side games, wore baseball caps, beach hats and sunglasses.
When choosing flag football, the NFL had stressed they were keen to promote a format of the game which has put itself forward for inclusion in the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.
A decision on that bid is expected later this year, but hopefully by then everyone will be clear on the rules. There were several moments of confusion although the sight of an irate Peyton Manning contesting the referee's decision at the end of the deciding game provided some element of tension.
While the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback was disputing the referee's call, his brother was receiving a "Gatorade shower" in celebration of the win.
"It's official, I am the greatest coach of the Mannings, I am so much better at coaching than Peyton," said the former New York Giants star in one of many social media clips generated by the event.
Peyton's Omaha Productions company had been hired by the NFL to "help shape programming and promote the event's content." Whatever else could be said about the event, they certainly did that.
Now the NFL will wait for the television ratings to see whether or not their tackle-free approach was a hit with fans.
© Agence France-Presse