The NFL is overhauling the Pro Bowl eliminating the AFC-NFC format in favor of captains picking 43 players per team regardless of conference.

In addition kickoffs will be eliminated from the game as a safety measure one of several changes to the game. A coin toss will determine which squad gets the game's opening possession. The ball will be placed at the 25-yard line at the start of the game and after scoring plays. Since there will be no kickoffs the kick-return specialist Pro Bowl roster spot will be replaced with an additional defensive back spot.

Voting for the game also will be changed as conference affiliation no longer will be considered in determining the All-Star selections. The two leading vote-getters will be named captains and will be assisted by Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders and two fantasy football champions in picking the two teams.

Among other changes:

• A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters in addition to the traditional rule in the second and fourth quarters. Possession also will change hands after each quarter.

• Defenses will be allowed to play Cover 2 and press coverage. In the past only man coverage had been allowed except for goal-line situations.

• Changes will be made to the game clock during the two-minute warning with the clock stopping if the offense doesn't gain at least 1 yard in order to encourage offenses to try to gain yardage at the end of each quarter.

• In addition the clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the game referee except during the two-minute warnings and the final five minutes of the game.

• The game will use a 35-second/25-second play clock instead of the traditional 40-second/25-second clock.

• Also the game clock will not stop on sacks of the quarterback outside of the game's final two minutes.

The changes were proposed by NFL Players Association president Domonique Foxworth and were jointly announced Wednesday by the NFL and the union.