Pro Bowl

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Pro Bowl
NFL Pro Bowl logo.png
The current logo for the NFL Pro Bowl.
First played 1951

AmericanFootball current event.svgRecent and upcoming games
2018 season
January 27, 2019 (Details)
2019 season
January 26, 2020 (Details)

The Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). From the merger with the rival American Football League (AFL) in 1970 up through 2013 and since 2017, it is officially called the AFC–NFC Pro Bowl, matching the top players in the American Football Conference (AFC) against those in the National Football Conference (NFC). From 2014 through 2016, the NFL experimented with an unconferenced format, where the teams were selected by two honorary team captains (who are each in the Hall of Fame), instead of selecting players from each conference. [1] The players were picked in a televised "schoolyard pick" prior to the game. [2]

An all-star game is an exhibition game that purports to showcase the best players of a sports league. The exhibition is between two teams organized solely for the event, usually representing the league's teams based on region or division, but sometimes dividing the players by an attribute such as nationality. Selection of the players may be done by a vote of the coaches and/or news media; in professional leagues, fans may vote on some or all of the roster. An all-star game usually occurs at the midpoint of the regular season. An exception is American football's Pro Bowl, which occurs at the end of the season.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held on the first Sunday in February and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

American Football League Professional football league that merged with National Football League in 1970

The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.

Contents

Unlike most major sports leagues, which hold their all-star games roughly midway through their regular seasons, the Pro Bowl is played around the end of the NFL season. The first official Pro Bowl was played in January 1951, three weeks after the 1950 NFL Championship Game (between 1939 and 1942, the NFL experimented with all-star games pitting the league's champion against a team of all-stars). Between 1970 and 2009, the Pro Bowl was usually held the weekend after the Super Bowl. Since 2010, it has been played the weekend before the Super Bowl. Players from the two teams competing in the Super Bowl do not participate.

The major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada are the highest professional competitions of team sports in those countries. The four leagues universally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL). Other prominent leagues include Major League Soccer (MLS) and Canadian Football League (CFL).

The 1951 Pro Bowl was the National Football League's inaugural Pro Bowl which featured the league's outstanding performers from the 1950 season. The game was played on Sunday, January 14, 1951, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California in front of 53,676 fans. The American Conference squad defeated the National Conference by a score of 28–27. The player were selected by a vote of each conferences coaches along with the sports editors of the newspapers in the Los Angeles area, where the game was contested.

1950 NFL Championship Game

The 1950 National Football League Championship Game was the 18th National Football League (NFL) title game, played on Sunday, December 24th at Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

For years, the game has suffered from lack of interest due to perceived low quality, [3] with observers and commentators expressing their disfavor with it in its current state. [4] It draws lower TV ratings than regular season NFL games, [5] although the game draws similar ratings to other major all-star games, such as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. [6] However, the biggest concern of teams is to avoid injuries to the star players. [7] The Associated Press wrote that players in the 2012 game were "hitting each other as though they were having a pillow fight". [8]

Major League Baseball All-Star Game exhibition game played by Major League Baseball players representing each league

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual professional baseball game sanctioned by Major League Baseball (MLB) contested between the All-Stars from the American League (AL) and National League (NL), currently selected by fans for starting fielders, by managers for pitchers, and by managers and players for reserves.

Associated Press American multinational nonprofit news agency

The Associated Press (AP) is a U.S.-based not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters.

Between 1980 and 2016, the game was played at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii except for two years (2010 and 2015). On June 1, 2016, the NFL announced that they reached a multi-year deal to move the game to Orlando, Florida as part of the league's ongoing efforts to make the game more relevant. [3]

Aloha Stadium

Aloha Stadium is a stadium located in Halawa, Hawaii, a western suburb of Honolulu. It is the largest stadium in the state of Hawaii. Aloha Stadium is home to the University of Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warriors football team.

Hawaii U.S. state in the United States

Hawaii is a state in the Pacific United States. It is the most recent state to join the United States, on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state geographically located in Oceania, although it is governed as a part of North America, and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.

2010 Pro Bowl

The 2010 Pro Bowl was the National Football League's all-star game for the 2009 season. It took place at 8:00 PM EST on Sunday, January 31, 2010, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins and host site of Super Bowl XLIV. The television broadcasters were Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden.

History of the Pro Bowl

The first "Pro All-Star Game", featuring the all-stars of the 1938 season (as well as three players from the Los Angeles Bulldogs and Hollywood Bears, who were not members of the league), was played on January 15, 1939 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. [9] [10] The NFL All-Star Game was played again in Los Angeles in 1940 and then in New York and Philadelphia in 1941 and 1942 respectively. Although originally planned as an annual contest, the all-star game was discontinued after 1942 because of travel restrictions put in place during World War II. [11] During the first five all-star games, an all-star team would face that year's league champion. The league champion won the first four games before the all-stars were victorious in the final game of this early series.

The 1938 NFL season was the 19th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended when the New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship Game.

Los Angeles Bulldogs

The Los Angeles Bulldogs were a professional American football team that competed from 1936 to 1948. Formed with the intention of joining the National Football League in 1937, the Bulldogs were the first team on the major league level to play its home games on the American West Coast.

Wrigley Field (Los Angeles) Former baseball stadium in Los Angeles, California

Wrigley Field was a ballpark on the West Coast of the United States, located in Los Angeles, California. It hosted minor league baseball teams in the region for over 30 years. It was the home park for the Los Angeles Angels during their run in the Pacific Coast League, as well as their inaugural season as a major league team in 1961. The park was designed by Zachary Taylor Davis, who had previously designed both Chicago ballparks: Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field. The ballpark was also used as the backdrop for several Hollywood films about baseball, as well as the TV series Home Run Derby.

The concept of an all-star game was not revived until June 1950, when the newly christened "Pro Bowl" was approved. [11] The game was sponsored by the Los Angeles Publishers Association. It was decided that the game would feature all-star teams from each of the league's two conferences rather than the league champion versus all-star format which had been used previously. This was done to avoid confusion with the Chicago College All-Star Game, an annual game which featured the league champion against a collegiate all-star team. The teams would be led by the coach of each of the conference champions. [11] Immediately prior to the Pro Bowl, following the 1949 season, the All-America Football Conference, which contributed three teams to the NFL in a partial merger in 1950, held its own all-star game, the Shamrock Bowl.

Chicago College All-Star Game

The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game was a preseason American football game played from 1934 to 1976 between the National Football League (NFL) champions and a team of star college seniors from the previous year. It was also known as the College All-Star Football Classic.

College football Collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by colleges and universities

College football is gridiron football consisting of American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

All-America Football Conference Professional American football league operating from 1946–1949

The All-America Football Conference (AAFC) was a professional American football league that challenged the established National Football League (NFL) from 1946 to 1949. One of the NFL's most formidable challengers, the AAFC attracted many of the nation's best players, and introduced many lasting innovations to the game. However, the AAFC was ultimately unable to sustain itself in competition with the NFL. After its folding, three of its teams were admitted to the NFL: the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns and the original Baltimore Colts.

The first 21 games of the series (19511972) were played in Los Angeles. The site of the game was changed annually for each of the next seven years before the game was moved to Aloha Stadium in Halawa, Hawaii for 30 straight seasons from 1980 through 2009. The 2010 Pro Bowl was played at Sun Life Stadium, the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins and host site of Super Bowl XLIV, on January 31, the first time ever that the Pro Bowl was held before the championship game (a decision probably due to increasingly low Nielsen ratings from being regarded as an anti-climax to the Super Bowl). With the new rule being that the conference teams do not include players from the teams that will be playing in the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl then returned to Hawaii in 2011 but was again held during the week before the Super Bowl, where it remained for three more years.

The 2012 game was met with criticism from fans and sports writers for the lack of quality play by the players (see below). On October 24, 2012, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had second thoughts about the Pro Bowl, telling a Sirius XM show that if the players did not play more competitively [in the 2013 Pro Bowl], he was "not inclined to play it anymore". [12] [13] During the ensuing off-season, the NFL Players Association lobbied to keep the Pro Bowl, and negotiated several rule changes to be implemented for the 2014 game. Among them, the teams will no longer be AFC vs. NFC, and instead be selected by captains in a fantasy draft. For the 2014 game, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders were chosen as alumni captains, while their captains were Drew Brees and Robert Quinn (Rice), along with Jamaal Charles and J. J. Watt (Sanders). [14]

On April 9, 2014, the NFL announced that the 2015 Pro Bowl would be played the week before the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on January 25, 2015. [15] The game returned to Hawaii in 2016, and the "unconferenced" format was its last. [16]

For 2017, the league considered hosting the game at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which if approved would be the first time the game had been hosted outside the United States. [17] The NFL is also considering future Pro Bowls in Mexico and Germany. The NFL hopes that by leveraging international markets with the star power of Pro Bowls, international popularity and viewership will increase. [18] A report released May 19, 2016, indicated that the 2017 Pro Bowl would instead be hosted at a newly renovated Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida; Orlando beat out Brazil (which apparently did not make the final round of voting), Honolulu, Super Bowl host site Houston, and a bid from Sydney, Australia for the hosting rights. [19] On June 1, 2016, the league announced that it was restoring the old conference format. [20]

Since the 2017 Pro Bowl, the NFL has also hosted a series of side events leading up to the game called the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, which includes competitions like passing contests and dodgeball among the players. [21]

Player selection

Tackle during the 2006 Pro Bowl in Hawaii 2006 Pro Bowl tackle.jpg
Tackle during the 2006 Pro Bowl in Hawaii

Currently, players are voted into the Pro Bowl by the coaches, the players themselves, and the fans. Each group's ballots count for one third of the votes. The fans vote online at the NFL's official website. There are also replacements that go to the game should any selected player be unable to play due to injuries. Prior to 1995, only the coaches and the players made Pro Bowl selections.

In order to be considered a Pro Bowler for a given year, a player must either have been one of the initial players selected to the team, or a player who accepts an invitation to the Pro Bowl as an alternate; invited alternates who decline to attend are not considered Pro Bowlers. Since 2010, players of the two teams advanced to the Super Bowl do not play in the Pro Bowl, and they are replaced by alternate players.

From 2014 to 2016, players did not play according to conference; instead, they were placed in a draft pool and chosen by team captains. [14]

Coaching staff

When the Pro Bowl was held after the Super Bowl, the head coaches were traditionally the head coaches of the teams that lost in the AFC and NFC championship games for the same season of the Pro Bowl in question. From 1978 through 1982, the head coaches of the highest ranked divisional champion that lost in the Divisional Playoff Round were chosen. [22] For the 1983 Pro Bowl, the NFL resumed selecting the losing head coaches in the conference championship games. In the 1999 Pro Bowl, New York Jets head coach Bill Parcells, after his team lost to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, had to decline due to health reasons and Jets assistant head coach Bill Belichick took his place. [23]

When the Pro Bowl was moved to the weekend between the Conference Championship games and the Super Bowl in 2009, the team that lost in the Divisional Playoff Round with the best regular season record would have their coaching staffs lead their respective conference Pro Bowl team returning to the format used from 1978–1982. It remained that way through 2013; it resumed in 2017. If the losing teams of each conference had the same regular season record the coaches from the higher-seeded team will get the Pro Bowl honor. [24] From 2014 to 2016, the Pro Bowl coaches came from the two teams with the best records that lost in the Divisional Playoffs. (In the 2015 Pro Bowl, when John Fox left his coaching job with Denver after his playoff loss to Indianapolis that year, John Harbaugh of Baltimore took over. The next year saw Green Bay's assistant coach Winston Moss took over as Mike McCarthy resigned from coaching due to illness.)

Game honors

Kyle Rudolph with the Pro Bowl MVP trophy in 2013. Kyle Rudolph Pro Bowl MVP trophy.JPG
Kyle Rudolph with the Pro Bowl MVP trophy in 2013.

A Player of the Game was honored 1951–1956. 1957–1971, awards were presented to both an Outstanding Back and an Outstanding Lineman. In 1972 and since 2014, there are awards for both an Outstanding Offensive Player and an Outstanding Defensive Player. 1973–2007, only one Player of the Game award was honored (though thrice this award has been presented to multiple players in a single game). In 2008 the award was changed to Most Valuable Player (MVP). [25]

Players are paid for participating in the game with the winning team receiving a larger payout. The chart below shows how much the players of their respective teams earn:[ citation needed ]

YearsWinnersLosers
2011/2013$50,000$25,000
2012$65,000$40,000
2014$53,000$26,000
2015/2016$55,000$28,000
2017$61,000$30,000
2018$64,000$32,000
Since 2019$67,000$39,000

Rule differences

The Pro Bowl has different rules from regular NFL games to make the game safer. [26] [27]

In case of a tie after regulation, multiple 15-minute OT periods will be played (with each team receiving two time outs per period), and in the first overtime teams receive one possession to score unless one of them scores a touchdown/safety on its first possession. True sudden death rules apply thereafter if both teams have had their initial possession and the game remains tied. The Pro Bowl is not allowed to end in a tie, unlike preseason and regular season games. (In general, beyond the 1st overtime, whoever scores first wins. The first overtime starts as if the game had started over, like the NFL Playoffs.)

Pro Bowl uniforms

Quarterback Peyton Manning (#18) before the 2006 Pro Bowl. PeytonManning.jpg
Quarterback Peyton Manning (#18) before the 2006 Pro Bowl.

The teams are made of players from different NFL teams, so using their own uniforms would be too confusing. However, the players do wear the helmet of their respective team, but the home jerseys and pants are either a solid blue for the NFC or solid red for the AFC, with white jerseys with blue or red accents, respectively, for the away team. While it had been speculated that the color of Pro Bowl jerseys was determined by the winner of the Super Bowl—as it had been played post-Super Bowl for many years—this is untrue. The design of Pro Bowl uniforms is changed every two years, and the color and white jerseys are rotated along with the design change. This has been Pro Bowl tradition since the switch to team specific helmets, which started with the January 1979 game. The two-year switch was originally created as a marketing ploy by Nike, and was continued by Reebok, which won the merchandising contract in 2002. Nike subsequently won the contract back in 2011.

The early Pro Bowl, contested by the National Football League's Eastern and Western Division stars and played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, featured the same uniforms from the 1950s to mid-1960s; the Eastern team wore scarlet jerseys with white numerals and a white crescent shoulder stripe, white pants with red stripe, red socks, and a plain red helmet. The Western team wore white jerseys with royal-blue numerals and a Northwestern University-style Ukon triple stripe on the sleeves, white pants with blue stripe and socks and a plain blue helmet. Perhaps oddly, the Eastern team wore home dark jerseys, although the host city team, the Los Angeles Rams, were members of the Western Conference. From January 1967 to January 1970 both teams wore gold helmets with the NFL logo on the sides; the Eastern helmets featured a red-white-red tri-stripe and the Western a similar blue-white-blue tri-stripe. In fact, the players brought their own game helmets to Los Angeles, which were then spray-painted and decorated for the contest. For the 1970 game the helmets featured the '50 NFL' logo, commemorating the league's half-century anniversary.

In the earliest years of the AFC–NFC Pro Bowl, the players did not wear their unique helmets, as they do now. The AFC All-Stars wore a solid red helmet with a white A on it, while the NFC players wore a solid white helmet with a blue N on it. The AFC's red helmets were paired with white jerseys and red pants, while the NFC's white helmets were paired with blue jerseys and white pants.

Two players with the same number who are elected to the Pro Bowl can now wear the same number for that game. This was not always the case in the past.

The 2008 Pro Bowl included a unique example of several players from the same team wearing the same number in a Pro Bowl. For the game, Washington Redskins players T Chris Samuels, TE Chris Cooley, and LS Ethan Albright all wore the number 21 (a number normally inappropriate for their positions) in memory of their teammate Sean Taylor, who had been murdered during the 2007 season. [28]

On October 7, 2013, Nike unveiled the uniforms for the 2014 Pro Bowl, which revealed that the red, white and blue colors that the game uniforms bore throughout its entire history will no longer be used for this game. As the NFC–AFC format was not used between 2014 through 2016, team 1 sported a white uniform with bright orange and team 2 sported a gray uniform with volt green. [29] The new uniforms received mixed reviews from fans and sports columnists alike, one even mentioning that the game would look like an "Oregon vs. Oklahoma State" game. [30]

Since 2017, when the conference format was restored, the league takes an approach similar to the NFL Color Rush initiative, in which jerseys, pants, and socks were all a uniform color (red for the AFC, blue for the NFC).

Game results

NFL All-Star Games (1938–1942)

No Most Valuable Player awards were presented during these games.
SeasonDateScoreVenueAttendanceHead coaches
1938 January 15, 1939 New York Giants 13, NFL All-Stars 10 Wrigley Field 15,000 [31] AS: Ray Flaherty (Washington) and Gus Henderson (Detroit)
NY: Steve Owen
1939 January 14, 1940 Green Bay Packers 16, NFL All-Stars 7 Gilmore Stadium 18,000AS: Steve Owen (New York)
GB: Curly Lambeau
1940 December 29, 1940 Chicago Bears 28, NFL All-Stars 14Gilmore Stadium21,624AS: Ray Flaherty (Washington)
CB: George Halas
1941 January 4, 1942 Chicago Bears 35, NFL All-Stars 24 Polo Grounds 17,725AS: Steve Owen (New York)
CB: George Halas
1942 December 27, 1942 NFL All-Stars 17, Washington Redskins 14 Shibe Park 18,671AS: Hunk Anderson (Chicago Bears)
Wash: Ray Flaherty
No game was played from 1943 to 1950.

NFL Pro Bowls (1950–1969)

SeasonDateScoreSeriesMost Valuable PlayersVenue [32] AttendanceHead coachesNetwork
1950 January 14, 1951 American Conference 28, National Conference 27 AC, 1–0 Otto Graham, Cleveland Browns, Quarterback Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 53,676AC: Paul Brown, Cleveland
NC: Joe Stydahar, Los Angeles
1951 January 12, 1952 [33] National Conference 30, American Conference 13 Tied, 1–1 Dan Towler, Los Angeles Rams, Running back Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum19,400AC: Paul Brown, Cleveland
NC: Joe Stydahar, Los Angeles
NBC
1952 January 10, 1953 [33] National Conference 27, American Conference 7 NC, 2–1 Don Doll, Detroit Lions, Defensive back Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum34,208AC: Paul Brown, Cleveland
NC: Buddy Parker, Detroit
NBC
1953 January 17, 1954 East 20, West 9 Tied, 2–2 Chuck Bednarik, Philadelphia Eagles, Linebacker Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum44,214EC: Paul Brown, Cleveland
WC: Buddy Parker, Detroit
DuMont
1954 January 16, 1955 West 26, East 19 West, 3–2 Billy Wilson, San Francisco 49ers, End Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum43,972EC: Jim Trimble, Philadelphia
WC: Buck Shaw, San Francisco
1955 January 15, 1956 East 31, West 30 Tied, 3–3 Ollie Matson, Chicago Cardinals, Running back Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum37,867EC: Joe Kuharich, Washington
WC: Sid Gillman, Los Angeles
1956 January 13, 1957 West 19, East 10 West, 4–3Back: Bert Rechichar, Baltimore Colts
Lineman: Ernie Stautner, Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum44,177EC: Jim Lee Howell, New York
WC: Paddy Driscoll, Chicago Bears
1957 January 12, 1958 West 26, East 7 West, 5–3Back: Hugh McElhenny, San Francisco 49ers
Lineman: Gene Brito, Washington Redskins
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum66,634EC: Buddy Parker, Pittsburgh
WC: George Wilson, Detroit
NBC
1958 January 11, 1959 East 28, West 21 West, 5–4Back: Frank Gifford, New York Giants
Lineman: Doug Atkins, Chicago Bears
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum72,250EC: Jim Lee Howell, New York
WC: Weeb Ewbank, Baltimore
NBC
1959 January 17, 1960 West 38, East 21 West, 6–4Back: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts
Lineman: Eugene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb, Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum56,876EC: Buck Shaw, Philadelphia
WC: Red Hickey, San Francisco
NBC
1960 January 15, 1961 West 35, East 31 West, 7–4Back: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts
Lineman: Sam Huff, New York Giants
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum62,971EC: Buck Shaw, Philadelphia
WC: Vince Lombardi, Green Bay
NBC
1961 January 14, 1962 West 31, East 30 West, 8–4Back: Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns
Lineman: Henry Jordan, Green Bay Packers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum57,409EC: Allie Sherman, New York
WC: Norm Van Brocklin, Minnesota
NBC
1962 January 13, 1963 East 30, West 20 West, 8–5Back: Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns
Lineman: Eugene Lipscomb, Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum61,374EC: Allie Sherman, New York
WC: Vince Lombardi, Green Bay
NBC
1963 January 12, 1964 West 31, East 17 West, 9–5Back: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts
Lineman: Gino Marchetti, Baltimore Colts
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum67,242EC: Allie Sherman, New York
WC: George Halas, Chicago
NBC
1964 January 10, 1965 West 34, East 14 West, 10–5Back: Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings
Lineman: Terry Barr, Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum60,598EC: Blanton Collier, Cleveland
WC: Don Shula, Baltimore
NBC
1965 January 15, 1966 East 36, West 7 West, 10–6Back: Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns
Lineman: Dale Meinert, St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum60,124EC: Blanton Collier, Cleveland
WC: Vince Lombardi, Green Bay
CBS
1966 January 22, 1967 East 20, West 10 West, 10–7Back: Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
Lineman: Floyd Peters, Philadelphia Eagles
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum15,062EC: Tom Landry, Dallas
WC: George Allen, Los Angeles
CBS
1967 January 21, 1968 West 38, East 20 West, 11–7Back: Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
Lineman: Dave Robinson, Green Bay Packers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum53,289EC:Otto Graham, Washington
WC: Don Shula, Baltimore
CBS
1968 January 19, 1969 West 10, East 7 West, 12–7Back: Roman Gabriel, Los Angeles Rams
Lineman: Merlin Olsen, Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum32,050EC: Tom Landry, Dallas
WC: George Allen, Los Angeles
CBS
1969 January 18, 1970 West 16, East 13 West, 13–7Back: Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
Lineman: George Andrie, Dallas Cowboys
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum57,786EC: Tom Fears, New Orleans
WC: Norm Van Brocklin, Atlanta
CBS

AFC–NFC Pro Bowls (1970–2012)

SeasonDateScoreSeriesMost Valuable Player(s)VenueAttendanceHead coachesNetwork
1970 January 24, 1971 NFC, 27–6 NFC, 1–0Lineman: Fred Carr, Packers
Back: Mel Renfro, Cowboys
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum48,222AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Dick Nolan, San Francisco
CBS
1971 January 23, 1972 AFC, 26–13 Tied, 1–1Defense: Willie Lanier, Chiefs
Offense: Jan Stenerud, Chiefs
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum53,647AFC: Don McCafferty, Baltimore
NFC: Dick Nolan, San Francisco
NBC
1972 January 21, 1973 AFC, 33–28 AFC, 2–1 O.J. Simpson, Bills, Running back Texas Stadium 37,091AFC: Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh
NFC: Tom Landry, Dallas
CBS
1973 January 20, 1974 AFC, 15–13 AFC, 3–1 Garo Yepremian, Dolphins, Placekicker Arrowhead Stadium 66,918AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Tom Landry, Dallas
NBC
1974 January 20, 1975 [34] NFC, 17–10 AFC, 3–2 James Harris, Rams, Quarterback Miami Orange Bowl 26,484AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Chuck Knox, Los Angeles
ABC
1975 January 26, 1976 [34] NFC, 23–20 Tied, 3–3 Billy Johnson, Oilers, Kick returner Louisiana Superdome 30,546AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Chuck Knox, Los Angeles
ABC
1976 January 17, 1977 [34] AFC, 24–14 AFC, 4–3 Mel Blount, Steelers, Cornerback The Kingdome 64,752AFC: Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh
NFC: Chuck Knox, Los Angeles
ABC
1977 January 23, 1978 [34] NFC, 14–13 Tied, 4–4 Walter Payton, Bears, Running back Tampa Stadium 51,337AFC: Ted Marchibroda, Baltimore
NFC: Chuck Knox, Los Angeles
ABC
1978 January 29, 1979 [34] NFC, 13–7 NFC, 5–4 Ahmad Rashād, Vikings, Wide receiver Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum46,281AFC: Chuck Fairbanks, New England
NFC: Bud Grant, Minnesota
ABC
1979 January 27, 1980 NFC, 37–27 NFC, 6–4 Chuck Muncie, Saints, Running back Aloha Stadium 49,800AFC: Don Coryell, San Diego
NFC: Tom Landry, Dallas
ABC
1980 February 1, 1981 NFC, 21–7 NFC, 7–4 Eddie Murray, Lions, PlacekickerAloha Stadium50,360AFC: Sam Rutigliano, Cleveland
NFC: Leeman Bennett, Atlanta
ABC
1981 January 31, 1982 AFC, 16–13 NFC, 7–5 Lee Roy Selmon, Buccaneers, Defensive end
Kellen Winslow, Chargers, Tight end
Aloha Stadium50,402AFC: Don Shula, Miami
NFC: John McKay, Tampa Bay
ABC
1982 February 6, 1983 NFC, 20–19 NFC, 8–5 Dan Fouts, Chargers, Quarterback
John Jefferson, Packers, Wide receiver
Aloha Stadium49,883AFC: Walt Michaels, New York Jets
NFC: Tom Landry, Dallas
ABC
1983 January 29, 1984 NFC, 45–3 NFC, 9–5 Joe Theismann, Redskins, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,445AFC: Chuck Knox, Seattle
NFC: Bill Walsh, San Francisco
ABC
1984 January 27, 1985 AFC, 22–14 NFC, 9–6 Mark Gastineau, Jets, Defensive endAloha Stadium50,385AFC: Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh
NFC: Mike Ditka, Chicago
ABC
1985 February 2, 1986 NFC, 28–24 NFC, 10–6 Phil Simms, Giants, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,101AFC: Don Shula, Miami
NFC: John Robinson, L.A. Rams
ABC
1986 February 1, 1987 AFC, 10–6 NFC, 10–7 Reggie White, Eagles, Defensive endAloha Stadium50,101AFC: Marty Schottenheimer, Cleveland
NFC: Joe Gibbs, Washington
ABC
1987 February 7, 1988 AFC, 15–6 NFC, 10–8 Bruce Smith, Bills, Defensive endAloha Stadium50,113AFC: Marty Schottenheimer, Cleveland
NFC: Jerry Burns, Minnesota
ESPN
1988 January 29, 1989 NFC, 34–3 NFC, 11–8 Randall Cunningham, Eagles, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,113AFC: Marv Levy, Buffalo
NFC: Mike Ditka, Chicago
ESPN
1989 February 4, 1990 NFC, 27–21 NFC, 12–8 Jerry Gray, Rams, CornerbackAloha Stadium50,445AFC: Bud Carson, Cleveland
NFC: John Robinson, L.A. Rams
ESPN
1990 February 3, 1991 AFC, 23–21 NFC, 12–9 Jim Kelly, Bills, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,345AFC: Art Shell, L.A. Raiders
NFC: George Seifert, San Francisco
ESPN
1991 February 2, 1992 NFC, 21–15 NFC, 13–9 Michael Irvin, Cowboys, Wide receiverAloha Stadium50,209AFC: Dan Reeves, Denver
NFC: Wayne Fontes, Detroit
ESPN
1992 February 7, 1993 AFC, 23–20 (OT) NFC, 13–10 Steve Tasker, Bills, Special teams Aloha Stadium50,007AFC: Don Shula, Miami
NFC: George Seifert, San Francisco
ESPN
1993 February 6, 1994 NFC, 17–3 NFC, 14–10 Andre Rison, Falcons, Wide receiverAloha Stadium50,026AFC: Marty Schottenheimer, Kansas City
NFC: George Seifert, San Francisco
ESPN
1994 February 5, 1995 AFC, 41–13 NFC, 14–11 Marshall Faulk, Colts, Running backAloha Stadium49,121AFC: Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh
NFC: Barry Switzer, Dallas
ABC
1995 February 4, 1996 NFC, 20–13 NFC, 15–11 Jerry Rice, 49ers, Wide receiverAloha Stadium50,034AFC: Ted Marchibroda, Indianapolis
NFC: Mike Holmgren, Green Bay
ABC
1996 February 2, 1997 AFC, 26–23 (OT) NFC, 15–12 Mark Brunell, Jaguars, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,031AFC: Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville
NFC: Dom Capers, Carolina
ABC
1997 February 1, 1998 AFC, 29–24 NFC, 15–13 Warren Moon, Seahawks, QuarterbackAloha Stadium49,995AFC: Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh
NFC: Steve Mariucci, San Francisco
ABC
1998 February 7, 1999 AFC, 23–10 NFC, 15–14 Keyshawn Johnson, Jets, Wide receiver
Ty Law, Patriots, Cornerback
Aloha Stadium50,075AFC: Bill Belichick, [35] N.Y. Jets
NFC: Dennis Green, Minnesota
ABC
1999 February 6, 2000 NFC, 51–31 NFC, 16–14 Randy Moss, Vikings, Wide receiverAloha Stadium50,112AFC: Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville
NFC: Tony Dungy, Tampa Bay
ABC
2000 February 4, 2001 AFC, 38–17 NFC, 16–15 Rich Gannon, Raiders, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,128AFC: Jon Gruden, Oakland
NFC: Dennis Green, Minnesota
ABC
2001 February 9, 2002 [33] AFC, 38–30 Tied, 16–16 Rich Gannon, Raiders, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,301AFC: Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh
NFC: Andy Reid, Philadelphia
ABC
2002 February 2, 2003 AFC, 45–20 AFC, 17–16 Ricky Williams, Dolphins, Running backAloha Stadium50,125AFC: Jeff Fisher, Tennessee
NFC: Andy Reid, Philadelphia
ABC
2003 February 8, 2004 NFC, 55–52 Tied, 17–17 Marc Bulger, Rams, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,127AFC: Tony Dungy, Indianapolis
NFC: Andy Reid, Philadelphia
ESPN
2004 February 13, 2005 AFC, 38–27 AFC, 18–17 Peyton Manning, Colts, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,225AFC: Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh
NFC: Jim L. Mora, Atlanta
ESPN
2005 February 12, 2006 NFC 23–17 Tied, 18–18 Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers, Linebacker Aloha Stadium50,190AFC: Mike Shanahan, Denver
NFC: John Fox, Carolina
ESPN
2006 February 10, 2007 [33] AFC 31–28 AFC, 19–18 Carson Palmer, Bengals, QuarterbackAloha Stadium50,410AFC: Bill Belichick, New England
NFC: Sean Payton, New Orleans
CBS
2007 February 10, 2008 NFC 42–30 Tied, 19–19 Adrian Peterson, Vikings, Running backAloha Stadium50,044AFC: Norv Turner, San Diego
NFC: Mike McCarthy, Green Bay
Fox
2008 February 8, 2009 NFC 30–21 NFC, 20–19 Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, Wide receiverAloha Stadium49,958AFC: John Harbaugh, Baltimore
NFC: Andy Reid, Philadelphia
NBC
2009 January 31, 2010 AFC 41–34 Tied, 20–20 Matt Schaub, Texans, Quarterback Sun Life Stadium 70,697AFC: Norv Turner, San Diego
NFC: Wade Phillips, Dallas
ESPN
2010 January 30, 2011 NFC 55–41 NFC, 21–20 DeAngelo Hall, Redskins, CornerbackAloha Stadium49,338AFC: Bill Belichick, New England
NFC: Mike Smith, Atlanta
Fox
2011 January 29, 2012 AFC 59–41 Tied, 21–21 Brandon Marshall, Dolphins, Wide receiverAloha Stadium48,423AFC: Gary Kubiak, Houston
NFC: Mike McCarthy, Green Bay
NBC
2012 January 27, 2013 NFC 62–35 NFC, 22–21 Kyle Rudolph, Vikings, Tight endAloha Stadium47,134AFC: John Fox, Denver
NFC: Mike McCarthy, Green Bay
NBC

Unconferenced Pro Bowls (2013–2015)

SeasonDateScoreMost Valuable Player(s)VenueAttendanceHead coachesNetwork
2013 January 26, 2014 Team Rice 22,
Team Sanders 21
Offense: Nick Foles, Eagles, Quarterback
Defense: Derrick Johnson, Chiefs, Linebacker
Aloha Stadium47,270Rice: Ron Rivera, Carolina
Sanders: Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis
NBC
2014 January 25, 2015 Team Irvin 32,
Team Carter 28
Offense: Matthew Stafford, Lions, Quarterback
Defense: J. J. Watt, Texans, Defensive end
University of Phoenix Stadium 63,225Irvin: Jason Garrett, Dallas
Carter: John Harbaugh, Baltimore
ESPN
2015 January 31, 2016 Team Irvin 49,
Team Rice 27
Offense: Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Quarterback
Defense: Michael Bennett, Seahawks, Defensive end
Aloha Stadium50,000Irvin: Winston Moss, Green Bay
Rice: Andy Reid, Kansas City

AFC–NFC Pro Bowls (2016–present)

SeasonDateScoreSeriesMost Valuable Player(s)VenueAttendanceHead coachesNetwork
2016 January 29, 2017 AFC 20–13 Tied, 22–22Offensive: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs, Tight end
Defensive: Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo Bills, Linebacker
Camping World Stadium 60,834AFC: Andy Reid, Kansas City
NFC: Jason Garrett, Dallas
ESPN
2017 January 28, 2018 AFC 24–23 AFC, 23–22Offensive: Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans, Tight end
Defensive: Von Miller, Denver Broncos, Linebacker
Camping World Stadium51,019AFC: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh
NFC: Sean Payton, New Orleans
ESPN/ABC
2018 January 27, 2019 AFC 26–7 AFC, 24–22Offensive: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, Quarterback
Defensive: Jamal Adams, New York Jets, Safety
Camping World Stadium57,875AFC: Anthony Lynn, L.A. Chargers
NFC: Jason Garrett, Dallas
ESPN/ABC/Disney XD
2019 January 26, 2020 TBD AFC, 24–22TBACamping World StadiumTBDAFC: TBA
NFC: TBA
ESPN/ABC

Stadiums that have hosted the Pro Bowl

Records

Players with most appearances

As of the 2019 Pro Bowl, 28 players have been invited to at least 11 Pro Bowls in their careers. [36] Except for those that are current active or not yet eligible, each of these players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Five players share the record of having been invited to 14 Pro Bowls, the first being Merlin Olsen, followed by Bruce Matthews, Tony Gonzalez, Peyton Manning, and most recently Tom Brady. [37]

Pro
Bowls
PlayerPosSeasons by teamSelection yearsYear of induction
into Hall of Fame
14 Tony Gonzalez TE Kansas City Chiefs (19972008)
Atlanta Falcons (20092013)
1999–2008, 2010–2013 2019
14 Peyton Manning QB Indianapolis Colts (19982011)
Denver Broncos (20122015)
1999, 2000, 2002–2010, 2012–2014Eligible in 2021
14 Bruce Matthews G Houston Oilers / Tennessee Oilers /
Tennessee Titans
(19832001)
1988–2001 2007
14 Merlin Olsen DT Los Angeles Rams (19621976)1962–1975 1982
14 Tom Brady QB New England Patriots (2000–present)2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009–2018Active player
13 Ray Lewis LB Baltimore Ravens (19962012)1997–2001, 2003, 2004, 2006–2011 2018
13 Jerry Rice WR San Francisco 49ers (19852000)
Oakland Raiders (20012004)
Seattle Seahawks (2004)
1986–1996, 1998, 2002 2010
13 Reggie White DE Philadelphia Eagles (19851992)
Green Bay Packers (19931998)
Carolina Panthers (2000)
1986–1998 2006
12 Champ Bailey CB Washington Redskins (19992003)
Denver Broncos (20042013)
2000–2007, 2009–2012 2019
12 Ken Houston S Houston Oilers (19671972)
Washington Redskins (19731980)
1968–1979 1986
12 Randall McDaniel G Minnesota Vikings (19881999)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20002001)
1989–2000 2009
12 Jim Otto C Oakland Raiders (19601974)1961–1972 1980
12 Junior Seau LB San Diego Chargers (19902002)
Miami Dolphins (20032005)
New England Patriots (20062009)
1991–2002 2015
12 Will Shields G Kansas City Chiefs (19932006)1995–2006 2015
12 Drew Brees QB San Diego Chargers (20012005)
New Orleans Saints (2006–present)
2004, 2006, 2008–2014, 2016–2018Active player
11 Larry Allen G Dallas Cowboys (19942005)
San Francisco 49ers (20062007)
1995–2001, 2003–2006 2013
11 Derrick Brooks LB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19952008)1997–2006, 2008 2014
11 Brett Favre QB Atlanta Falcons (1991)
Green Bay Packers (19922007)
New York Jets (2008)
Minnesota Vikings (20092010)
1992, 1993, 1995–1997, 2001–2003, 2007–2009 2016
11 Larry Fitzgerald WR Arizona Cardinals (2004–present)2005, 2007–2013, 2015–2017Active player
11 Bob Lilly DT Dallas Cowboys (19611974)1962, 1964–1973 1980
11 Tom Mack G Los Angeles Rams (19661978)1967–1975, 1977, 1978 1999
11 Gino Marchetti DE Dallas Texans (1952)
Baltimore Colts (19531964; 1966)
1954–1964 1972
11 Anthony Muñoz OT Cincinnati Bengals (19801992)1981–1991 1998
11 Jonathan Ogden OT Baltimore Ravens (19962007)1997–2007 2013
11 Willie Roaf OT New Orleans Saints (19932001)
Kansas City Chiefs (20022005)
1994–2000, 2002–2005 2012
11 Bruce Smith DE Buffalo Bills (19851999)
Washington Redskins (20002003)
1987–1990, 1992–1998 2009
11 Jason Witten TE Dallas Cowboys (20032017, 2019–present)2004–2010, 2012–2014, 2017Active player
11 Rod Woodson CB Pittsburgh Steelers (19871996)
San Francisco 49ers (1997)
Baltimore Ravens (19982001)
Oakland Raiders (20022003)
1989–1994, 1996, 1999–2002 2009

Television

Most watched Pro Bowls

RankGameDateMatchupNetworkViewers (millions)TV Rating [39] Location
1 2011 Pro Bowl January 29, 2011AFC41NFC55 Fox 13.47.7 Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
2 2000 Pro Bowl February 6, 2000AFC31NFC51 ABC 13.28.6
3 2012 Pro Bowl January 29, 2012NFC41AFC59 NBC 12.57.3
4 2010 Pro Bowl January 31, 2010AFC41NFC34 ESPN 12.37.1 Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
5 2013 Pro Bowl January 27, 2013AFC35NFC62 NBC 12.27.1Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
6 2014 Pro Bowl January 26, 2014Team Rice22Team Sanders2111.46.6
7 2008 Pro Bowl February 10, 2008AFC30NFC42 Fox 10.06.3
8 2003 Pro Bowl February 2, 2003NFC23AFC45 ABC 9.15.9
9 2009 Pro Bowl February 8, 2009NFC30AFC21 NBC 8.85.4
10 2015 Pro Bowl January 25, 2015Team Irvin32Team Carter28 ESPN 8.85.1 University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Blackout policy

Prior to 2015, the Pro Bowl was still subject to the NFL's blackout policies, requiring the game to be blacked out within 75 miles (121 km) of the stadium site if the game does not sell out all of the stadium's seats. [40] [41] However, with the lifting of the NFL's blackout rules in 2015, the game can be shown within the host stadium regardless of attendance.

Criticism

Quality

For decades, the Pro Bowl has been criticized as a glamour event more than a football game. This is due to two causes: the voluntary nature of the game, and the fear of player injury.[ citation needed ]

While players are financially compensated for participating in the Pro Bowl, for a star player, the pay can be less than 1% of their salary. Many star players have excused themselves from participation over the years, meaning that the very best players are not necessarily featured. Not having the best players in the Pro Bowl was exacerbated by the introduction of fan voting (see section below).

Another criticism of the game is that the players—particularly on defense—are not playing "full speed". This is because player injury plays a much greater part in a team's success in the NFL as compared to the other major American sports. For this reason, unlike the NBA, NHL, and MLB (which host their all-star events as a mid-season break), the Pro Bowl was historically held after the completion of the season and playoffs. This means that a player injured in the Pro Bowl would have at least six months to rehab before the next season begins. However, starting in 2010, the Pro Bowl was moved from the week after the Super Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl. Because of the above-noted fear of injury, players from the two teams participating in the Super Bowl were banned from participation, meaning that the absence of star players was only increased.

With the dearth of stars making the game the subject of much derision ( Sports Illustrated website refused to even include one pre-game story on the event in 2012),[ citation needed ] the players on the field appear to be taking it less seriously as well.[ citation needed ] In the 2012 game, the lack of defensive effort was apparent, not only to anyone watching, but to anyone who saw the score of 100 points. One NFL player watching the game said, "They probably should have just put flags on them," [42] indicating that the quality was about on the level of flag football. Commissioner Roger Goodell stated that the game needed to improve, otherwise it would be eliminated. [43] [44] It is worth noting that entire teams have declined to participate after losing the conference championship, like the 2015 New England Patriots, which had seven starters on the Pro Bowl roster. This, among other factors, caused the 2016 Pro Bowl to be more of a game featuring emerging players, with a record of 133 players selected overall (including those who were absent), and ended up including rookie quarterback Jameis Winston instead of recognized veterans Tom Brady and Carson Palmer, who were both in the conversation for the 2015 NFL season MVP before losing in their respective conference finals. [45]

Selection process

Fan voting has increased criticism[ according to whom? ] of the Pro Bowl. Voting by fans makes up 1/3 of the vote for Pro Bowl players. Some teams earn more selections of their players because fans often vote for their favorite team and not necessarily the best player. In the 2008 Pro Bowl, the Dallas Cowboys had thirteen players on the NFC roster, an NFL record. "If you're in a small market, no one really gets to see you play", said Minnesota Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, who spent much of his early career with the small-market Buffalo Bills. "If you're a quiet guy, it's hard to get the attention. You just have to work hard and play." Winfield made the Pro Bowl in 2008 after ten seasons of being shut out. [46]

The player voting has also been subject to significant criticism. It is not uncommon for players to pick the same players over and over again; former offensive lineman (and Sports Illustrated analyst) Ross Tucker has cited politics, incumbency, personal vendettas, and compensation for injury in previous years as primary factors in players' choices. Thus, players who have seen their play decline with age can still be perennially elected to the Pro Bowl due to their popularity among other players, something particularly common among positions such as the offensive line, where few statistics are available. [47] For example, in 2010, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs admitted voting for Ryan Fitzpatrick (then the backup quarterback of the Buffalo Bills) over eventual league most valuable player Tom Brady not because he thought Fitzpatrick was the better player but as a vote of disrespect toward Brady's team, the New England Patriots. [48]

Some players have had a surprisingly small number of Pro Bowl selections despite distinguished careers. Hall of Fame running back John Riggins was selected only once in his career from 1971 to 1985. He was not selected in the year after which he set the record for rushing touchdowns in a season and his team made it to the Super Bowl (although he did make the All-Pro team). Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke only made the Pro Bowl once, despite being named All-Pro seven times and being the MVP of the 1962 NFL Championship Game. Defensive back Ken Riley never made the Pro Bowl in his 15 seasons, even though he recorded 65 interceptions, the fourth-highest total in NFL history at the time of his retirement. Former Jacksonville Jaguars halfback Fred Taylor, who is 15th in all-time rushing yards, was elected to his only Pro Bowl in 2007, despite averaging 4.6 yards per carry for his career, better than all but five running backs ranked in the top 30 in all-time rushing. Aaron Smith made it to the Pro Bowl once in 13 years (2004) despite winning two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers and being named to the Sports Illustrated 2000s All Decade Team, despite defensive teammates such as Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, and James Harrison being named to multiple Pro Bowls during his career; Smith would often be ranked as one of the NFL's most underrated players during his career. [49]

Long snappers are picked by the coaches and not voted on at all. They are not allowed to play on their own coach's team.

See also

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