Why Peyton Manning was ‘FURIOUS’ at the end of 2023 Pro Bowl flag football game, ending in AFC loss

The general sentiment of the revamped Pro Bowl Games seemed to be largely positive, but Peyton Manning didn’t come away particularly happy.

After the AFC lost to the NFC by two points following some extremely confusing clock management by the officials, The Sheriff lost it on the sidelines and running onto the field, saying the NFC had committed a penalty.

The biggest problem, of course, is that no one seemed to know what a penalty was throughout the day. Over the course of three flag football games, the rules seemed unclear, starting with Game 1 when officials didn’t seem to know how to handle issues with the clock.

It culminated with the Pro Bowl ending in a penalty and automatic first down, but that wasn’t why Manning was upset. The NFC was in a “no-run zone” when Cousins took a knee to end the game while the AFC wanted to let them score, which led to Manning’s furious response.

MORE: NFL Pro Bowl flag football game score, updates, highlights

The play occurred with the NFC up 35-33, and it was the play after a stopped fourth down by the AFC was overturned by an illegal blitz and a hold (that was clear as day, to be clear). Cousins contended that the referee said it was ok for him to take a knee.

The blitzing rules were strange, the clock management was confusing, and the officials seem to throw flags against their better judgement, hence Manning’s overall frustration.

It wasn’t just the final play that Manning was all over the referees, either. 

Manning’s hyper-competitiveness shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. He expressed frustration with mistakes multiple times on “Monday Night Football’s” Manningcast. So to be on the receiving end of an officiating mistake undoubtedly didn’t help matters.

The NFL clearly still has some kinks to work out with these games, but NFL officiating will always be a point of emphasis — even in an exhibition.

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