Pro Bowl
First played1951

Recent and upcoming games

In professional American football, the Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). Since the merger with the rival American Football League (AFL) in 1970, it has been 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).

Unlike most other sports leagues, which hold their all-star games during (roughly) the halfway point of their respective regular seasons, the Pro Bowl is played at the end of the NFL season. The NFL's all-star game draws bigger television ratings than all other major sports all-star games. The 2012 Pro Bowl drew 13.5 million viewers.[1][2] However, the biggest concern of teams is to avoid injuries to the star players.[1] The Associated Press wrote that players in the 2012 game were "hitting each other as though they were having a pillow fight."[3]

History of the Pro Bowl[edit | edit source]

The first "Pro All-Star Game," featuring the all-stars of the 1938 season (as well as three players from the Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Bulldogs, who were not members of the league), was played on January 15, 1939 at Los Angeles's Wrigley Field.[4][5] 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.[6] 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 concept of an all-star game would not be revived until June 1950, when the newly christened "Pro Bowl" was approved.[6] 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 divisions 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 division champions.[6]

The first twenty-one games of the series (19511972) were played in Los Angeles, California. The site of the game was changed annually for each of the next seven years before the game was moved to Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii for thirty consecutive 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, with the new rule that the conference teams do not include players from the teams that will be playing in the Super Bowl. The 2011 and 2012 Pro Bowls were played again in Hawaii, but again held during the week before the Super Bowl.

League officials had expressed significant doubt about holding future Pro Bowls due to the poor quality of the 2012 contest but have scheduled the Pro Bowl for 2013. The league has already sold television rights to the game through 2022.

Player selection[edit | edit source]

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. Being a Pro Bowler is considered to be a mark of honor, and players who are accepted into the Pro Bowl are considered to be elite.

The Pro Bowl head coaches are 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 (not the case for the 1980 and 1981 seasons, regarding the Pro Bowls played in 1981 and 1982). However, for the 2010 and 2011 Pro Bowls, a new rule was presented: The teams that lose in the divisional playoff game with the best regular-season record will have their coaching staffs lead their respective conference Pro Bowl team. 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.[7] This was, presumably, to allow the coaches more time with the players when the Pro Bowl is held during the week before the Super Bowl, since the conference championship losers would only have one week to prepare as opposed to three weeks when the Pro Bowl was held the week after the Super Bowl.[citation needed]

Game honors[edit | edit source]

A Player of the Game was honored from 1951–56. From 1957–71, awards were presented to both an Outstanding Back and an Outstanding Lineman. In 1972, there were awards for both an Outstanding Offensive Player and an Outstanding Defensive Player. From 1973–2007, only one Player of the Game award was honored (though three times this award has been presented to multiple players in a single game). In 2008 the award was changed to Most Valuable Player (MVP).[8] Since 1984 the winner has received the Dan McGuire Award.

Players are paid for participating in the game with the winning team receiving a larger payout. In the 2011 season, a record $50,000 was awarded for a win versus $25,000 for the losers.[3]

Rule differences[edit | edit source]

The Pro Bowl has different rules from other NFL games to make the game safer.[9][10]

  • No motion or shifting by the offense
  • Offense must have a tight end in all formations
  • Offense can’t have 3 receivers on a side
  • Intentional grounding is legal
  • Defense must run a 4-3 at all times
  • No press coverage except inside the 5 yard line
  • No blitz
  • Not allowed to rush a Punt, PAT or FG attempt
  • No calls can be challenged

Pro Bowl uniforms[edit | edit source]


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. The players each wear the helmet of their team, but the home jerseys and pants are either a solid blue for the NFC or solid red for the AFC, while white jerseys with blue or red accents, respectively, for the away team. While it has been speculated that the color of Pro Bowl jerseys is determined by the winner of the Super Bowl, 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 has been continued by Reebok, who won the merchandising contract in 2002. 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 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.[11]

Game results[edit | edit source]

NFL All-Star Games (1939–1942)[edit | edit source]

No Most Valuable Player awards were presented during these games
Season Date Score Venue Attendance Head Coaches
1938 January 15, 1939 New York Giants 13, NFL All-Stars 10 Wrigley Field, Los Angeles 15,000[12] AS: Ray Flaherty (Washington) & Gus Henderson (Detroit)
NY: Steve Owen
1939 January 14, 1940 Green Bay Packers 16, NFL All-Stars 7 Gilmore Stadium, Los Angeles 18,000 AS:Steve Owen (New York)
GB Curly Lambeau
1940 December 29, 1940 Chicago Bears 28, NFL All-Stars 14 Gilmore Stadium, Los Angeles 21,624 AS:Ray Flaherty (Washington)
CB:George Halas
1941 January 4, 1942 Chicago Bears 35, NFL All-Stars 24 Polo Grounds, New York City 17,725 AS:Steve Owen (New York)
CB:George Halas
1942 December 27, 1942 NFL All-Stars 17, Washington Redskins 14 Shibe Park, Philadelphia 18,671 AS: Hunk Anderson (Chicago Bears)
Wash:Ray Flaherty
  • 1943-50 - No games

NFL Pro Bowls (1951–70)[edit | edit source]

Season Date Score Series Most Valuable Players Venue[13] Attendance Head Coaches Television
1950 January 14, 1951 American Conference 28, National Conference 27 AC, 1-0 Otto Graham, Cleveland Browns, Quarterback Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 53,676 AC: Paul Brown, Cleveland
NC:Joe Stydahar, Los Angeles
1951 January 12, 1952[14] National Conference 30, American Conference 13 Tied, 1-1 Dan Towler, Los Angeles Rams, Running back Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 19,400 AC: Paul Brown, Cleveland
NC:Joe Stydahar, Los Angeles
1952 January 10, 1953[14] National Conference 27, American Conference 7 NC, 2-1 Don Doll, Detroit Lions, Defensive back Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 34,208 AC: Paul Brown, Cleveland
NC:Buddy Parker, Detroit
1953 January 17, 1954 East 20, West 9 Tied, 2-2 Chuck Bednarik, Philadelphia Eagles, Linebacker Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 44,214 EC: Paul Brown, Cleveland
WC: Buddy Parker, Detroit
1954 January 16, 1955 West 26, East 19 West, 3-2 Billy Wilson, San Francisco 49ers, End Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 43,972 EC: 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 Coliseum 37,867 EC: Joe Kuharich, Washington
WC: Sid Gillman, Los Angeles
1956 January 13, 1957 West 19, East 10 West, 4-3 Back: Bert Rechichar, Baltimore Colts
Lineman: Ernie Stautner, Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 44,177 EC:Jim Lee Howell, New York
WC: Paddy Driscoll, Chicago Bears
1957 January 12, 1958 West 26, East 7 West, 5-3 Back: Hugh McElhenny, San Francisco 49ers
Lineman: Gene Brito, Washington Redskins
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 66,634 EC: Buddy Parker, Pittsburgh
WC:George Wilson, Detroit
1958 January 11, 1959 East 28, West 21 West, 5-4 Back: Frank Gifford, New York Giants
Lineman: Doug Atkins, Chicago Bears
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 72,250 EC:Jim Lee Howell, New York
WC:Weeb Ewbank, Baltimore
1959 January 17, 1960 West 38, East 21 West, 6-4 Back: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts
Lineman: Eugene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb, Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 56,876 EC:Buck Shaw, Philadelphia
WC:Red Hickey, San Francisco
1960 January 15, 1961 West 35, East 31 West, 7-4 Back: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts
Lineman: Sam Huff, New York Giants
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 62,971 EC:Buck Shaw, Philadelphia
WC:Vince Lombardi, Green Bay
1961 January 14, 1962 West 31, East 30 West, 8-4 Back: Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns
Lineman: Henry Jordan, Green Bay Packers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 57,409 EC: Allie Sherman, New York
WC:Norm Van Brocklin, Minnesota
1962 January 13, 1963 East 30, West 20 West, 8-5 Back: Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns
Lineman: Eugene Lipscomb, Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 61,374 EC: Allie Sherman, New York
WC: Vince Lombardi, Green Bay
1963 January 12, 1964 West 31, East 17 West, 9-5 Back: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts
Lineman: Gino Marchetti, Baltimore Colts
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 67,242 EC: Allie Sherman, New York
WC:George Halas, Chicago
1964 January 10, 1965 West 34, East 14 West, 10-5 Back: Fran Tarkenton, Vikings
Lineman: Terry Barr, Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 60,598 EC: Blanton Collier, Cleveland
WC:Don Shula, Baltimore
1965 January 15, 1966 East 36, West 7 West, 10-6 Back: Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns
Lineman: Dale Meinert, St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 60,124 EC: Blanton Collier, Cleveland
WC: Vince Lombardi, Green Bay
1966 January 22, 1967 East 20, West 10 West, 10-7 Back: Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
Lineman: Floyd Peters, Philadelphia Eagles
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 15,062 EC: Tom Landry, Dallas
WC: George Allen, Los Angeles
1967 January 21, 1968 West 38, East 20 West, 11-7 Back: Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
Lineman: Dave Robinson, Green Bay Packers
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 53,289 EC:Otto Graham, Washington
WC: Don Shula, Baltimore
1968 January 19, 1969 West 10, East 7 West, 12-7 Back: Roman Gabriel, Los Angeles Rams
Lineman: Merlin Olsen, Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 32,050 EC: Tom Landry, Dallas
WC: George Allen, Los Angeles
1969 January 18, 1970 West 16, East 13 West, 13-7 Back: Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
Lineman: George Andrie, Dallas Cowboys
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 57,786 EC: Tom Fears, New Orleans
WC:Norm Van Brocklin, Atlanta

AFC–NFC Pro Bowls (1971–present)[edit | edit source]

Season Date Score Series Most Valuable Player(s) Venue Attendance Head Coaches Television
1970 January 24, 1971 NFC, 27-6 NFC, 1-0 Lineman: Fred Carr, Packers
Back: Mel Renfro, Cowboys
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California 48,222 AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Dick Nolan, San Francisco
1971 January 23, 1972 AFC, 26-13 Tied, 1-1 Defense: Willie Lanier, Chiefs
Offense: Jan Stenerud, Chiefs
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California 53,647 AFC: Don McCafferty, Baltimore
NFC: Dick Nolan, San Francisco
1972 January 21, 1973 AFC, 33-28 AFC, 2-1 O.J. Simpson, Bills, Running back Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas 37,091 AFC: Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh
NFC: Tom Landry, Dallas
1973 January 20, 1974 AFC, 15-13 AFC, 3-1 Garo Yepremian, Dolphins, Placekicker Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 66,918 AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Tom Landry, Dallas
1974 January 20, 1975[15] NFC, 17-10 NFC, 3-2 James Harris, Rams, Quarterback Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida 26,484 AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Chuck Knox, Los Angeles
1975 January 26, 1976[15] NFC, 23-20 Tied, 3-3 Billy Johnson, Oilers, Kick returner Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana 30,546 AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Chuck Knox, Los Angeles
1976 January 17, 1977[15] AFC, 24-14 AFC, 4-3 Mel Blount, Steelers, Cornerback The Kingdome, Seattle, Washington 64,752 AFC: Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh
NFC: Chuck Knox, Los Angeles
1977 January 23, 1978[15] NFC, 14-13 Tied, 4-4 Walter Payton, Bears, Running back Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida 51,337 AFC: John Madden, Oakland
NFC: Bud Grant, Minnesota
1978 January 29, 1979[15] NFC, 13-7 NFC, 5-4 Ahmad Rashad, Vikings, Wide receiver Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California 46,281 AFC: Bum Phillips, Houston
NFC: Ray Malavasi, Los Angeles
1979 January 27, 1980 NFC, 37-27 NFC, 6-4 Chuck Muncie, Saints, Running back Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 49,800 AFC: Bum Phillips, Houston
NFC: John McKay, Tampa Bay
1980 February 1, 1981 NFC, 21-7 NFC, 7-4 Eddie Murray, Lions, Placekicker Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,360 AFC: Sam Rutigliano, Cleveland
NFC: Leeman Bennett, Atlanta
1981 January 31, 1982 AFC, 16-13 AFC, 7-5 Lee Roy Selmon, Buccaneers, Defensive end
Kellen Winslow, Chargers, Tight end
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,402 AFC: Don Shula, Miami
NFC: John McKay, Tampa Bay
1982 February 6, 1983 NFC, 20-19 NFC, 8-5 Dan Fouts, Chargers, Quarterback
John Jefferson, Packers, Wide receiver
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 49,883 AFC: Walt Michaels, N.Y. Jets
NFC: Tom Landry, Dallas
1983 January 29, 1984 NFC, 45-3 NFC, 9-5 Joe Theismann, Redskins, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,445 AFC: Chuck Knox, Seattle
NFC: Bill Walsh, San Francisco
1984 January 27, 1985 AFC, 22-14 NFC, 9-6 Mark Gastineau, Jets, Defensive end Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,385 AFC: Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh
NFC: Mike Ditka, Chicago
1985 February 2, 1986 NFC, 28-24 NFC, 10-6 Phil Simms, Giants, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,101 AFC: Don Shula, Miami
NFC: John Robinson, L.A. Rams
1986 February 1, 1987 AFC, 10-6 NFC, 10-7 Reggie White, Eagles, Defensive end Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,101 AFC: Marty Schottenheimer, Cleveland
NFC: Joe Gibbs, Washington
1987 February 7, 1988 AFC, 15-6 NFC, 10-8 Bruce Smith, Bills, Defensive end Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,113 AFC: Marty Schottenheimer, Cleveland
NFC: Jerry Burns, Minnesota
1988 January 29, 1989 NFC, 34-3 NFC, 11-8 Randall Cunningham, Eagles, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,113 AFC: Marv Levy, Buffalo
NFC: Mike Ditka, Chicago
1989 February 4, 1990 NFC, 27-21 NFC, 12-8 Jerry Gray, Rams, Cornerback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,445 AFC: Bud Carson, Cleveland
NFC: John Robinson, L.A. Rams
1990 February 3, 1991 AFC, 23-21 NFC, 12-9 Jim Kelly, Bills, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,345 AFC: Art Shell, L.A. Raiders
NFC: George Seifert, San Francisco
1991 February 2, 1992 NFC, 21-15 NFC, 13-9 Michael Irvin, Cowboys, Wide receiver Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,209 AFC: Dan Reeves, Denver
NFC: Wayne Fontes, Detroit
1992 February 7, 1993 AFC, 23-20 (OT) NFC, 13-10 Steve Tasker, Bills, Special teams Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,007 AFC: Don Shula, Miami
NFC: George Seifert, San Francisco
1993 February 6, 1994 NFC, 17-3 NFC, 14-10 Andre Rison, Falcons, Wide receiver Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,026 AFC: Marty Schottenheimer, Kansas City
NFC: George Seifert, San Francisco
1994 February 5, 1995 AFC, 41-13 NFC, 14-11 Marshall Faulk, Colts, Running back Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 49,121 AFC: Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh
NFC: Barry Switzer, Dallas
1995 February 4, 1996 NFC, 20-13 NFC, 15-11 Jerry Rice, 49ers, Wide receiver Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,034 AFC: Ted Marchibroda, Indianapolis
NFC: Mike Holmgren, Green Bay
1996 February 2, 1997 AFC, 26-23 (OT) NFC, 15-12 Mark Brunell, Jaguars, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,031 AFC: Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville
NFC: Dom Capers, Carolina
1997 February 1, 1998 AFC, 29-24 NFC, 15-13 Warren Moon, Seahawks, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 49,995 AFC: Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh
NFC: Steve Mariucci, San Francisco
1998 February 7, 1999 AFC, 23-10 NFC, 15-14 Keyshawn Johnson, Jets, Wide receiver
Ty Law, Patriots, Cornerback
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,075 AFC: Bill Belichick,[16] N.Y. Jets
NFC: Dennis Green, Minnesota
1999 February 6, 2000 NFC, 51-31 NFC, 16-14 Randy Moss, Vikings, Wide receiver Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,112 AFC: Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville
NFC: Tony Dungy, Tampa Bay
2000 February 4, 2001 AFC, 38-17 NFC, 16-15 Rich Gannon, Raiders, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,128 AFC: Jon Gruden, Oakland
NFC: Dennis Green, Minnesota
2001 February 9, 2002[14] AFC, 38-30 Tied, 16-16 Rich Gannon, Raiders, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,301 AFC: Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh
NFC: Andy Reid, Philadelphia
2002 February 2, 2003 AFC, 45-20 AFC, 17-16 Ricky Williams, Dolphins, Running back Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,125 AFC: Jeff Fisher, Tennessee
NFC: Andy Reid, Philadelphia
2003 February 8, 2004 NFC, 55-52 Tied, 17-17 Marc Bulger, Rams, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,127 AFC: Tony Dungy, Indianapolis
NFC: Andy Reid, Philadelphia
2004 February 13, 2005 AFC, 38-27 AFC, 18-17 Peyton Manning, Colts, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,225 AFC: Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh
NFC: Jim L. Mora, Atlanta
2005 February 12, 2006 NFC 23-17 Tied, 18-18 Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers, Linebacker Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,190 AFC: Mike Shanahan, Denver
NFC: John Fox, Carolina
2006 February 10, 2007[14] AFC 31-28 AFC, 19-18 Carson Palmer, Bengals, Quarterback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,410 AFC: Bill Belichick, New England
NFC: Sean Payton, New Orleans
2007 February 10, 2008 NFC 42-30 Tied, 19-19 Adrian Peterson, Vikings, Running Back Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 50,044 AFC: Norv Turner, San Diego,
NFC: Mike McCarthy, Green Bay
2008 February 8, 2009 NFC 30-21 NFC 20-19 Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, Wide receiver Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 49,958 AFC: John Harbaugh, Baltimore
NFC: Andy Reid, Philadelphia
2009 January 31, 2010 AFC 41-34 Tied, 20-20 Matt Schaub, Texans, Quarterback Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida 70,697 AFC: Norv Turner, San Diego
NFC: Wade Phillips, Dallas
2010 January 30, 2011 NFC 55-41 NFC 21-20 DeAngelo Hall, Redskins, Cornerback Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii[17] 49,338 AFC: Bill Belichick, New England
NFC: Mike Smith, Atlanta
2011 January 29, 2012 AFC 59-41 Tied 21-21 Brandon Marshall, Dolphins, Wide Receiver Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii[17] 48,423 AFC: Gary Kubiak, Houston
NFC: Mike McCarthy, Green Bay
2012 January 27, 2013 TBA Tied 21-21 TBA Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii TBA AFC: TBA

Stadiums that have hosted the Pro Bowl[edit | edit source]

Records[edit | edit source]

  • Jeff Blake holds the record for the longest completion: 93 yards.[18]
  • Merlin Olsen (Rams) and Bruce Matthews (Oilers/Titans) each were in 14 consecutive pro-bowls. Olsen played in 14 consecutive pro-bowls beginning his rookie year.
  • In the 20 seasons prior to the AFL–NFL merger, the Western/National Conference won both the Pro Bowl and the NFL Championship game nine times, while the Eastern/American won both two times. In the years they have split, the East won the Pro Bowl and West won the NFL title five times, while the reverse has occurred four times. Also, in this era, the National/Western Conference won 13 of 20 games played against the American/Eastern Conference.
  • In the 37 seasons since the AFL–NFL Merger, both conferences have swept the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl 9 times. In the 19 years they have split, the NFC has won the Super Bowl 10 times.
  • Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts players have won seven MVP awards, more than any other team. Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams players have won six MVP Awards. Chicago Bears players have won five MVP awards. Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns players have won four MVP awards. 10 teams have won two, and 13 teams have won one each. The Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos have never had a player win an MVP award.
  • Quarterbacks have won 16 MVP awards; wide receivers are second with eight.
  • Only two AFC–NFC Pro Bowls have gone to overtime. Both have been won by the AFC in overtime with field goals.
  • Due to the rescheduling of Super Bowl XXXVI in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the northeast United States on September 11, 2001, the 2002 game was moved from Sunday to the following Saturday, one week later.
  • Sean Taylor was voted to the 2007/08 NFC Roster as a starter at free safety, shortly after he was fatally shot in his home by armed intruders. This was the first time in Pro Bowl history that a player was named as a Pro Bowler posthumously. The NFC took the field on defense for their first series with only 10 players on the field. He was later replaced by Roy Williams.[11]
  • John Madden and Tom Landry have coached in the most Pro Bowls (5 each).
  • Pittsburgh head coaches Bill Cowher and Chuck Noll have the most and second-most wins Pro Bowl history, respectively, with Cowher having four victories and Noll with three.
  • The 2007–08 Dallas Cowboys have the most selections in one season with 13.[citation needed]
  • The most points in a single game was 59, achieved by the AFC (2012). The 2004 Pro Bowl also featured the most points by the losing team (the AFC scored 52).
  • Marshall Faulk and Adrian Peterson are the only rookies in NFL history to win both the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and the Pro Bowl’s Most Valuable Player Award in the same season.
  • Defensive lineman Joe Klecko is the only player to make the Pro Bowl at three different positions (1981, 1983–85).
  • In 2010 DeSean Jackson became the only player to be named to the Pro Bowl at two different positions in the same year (wide receiver and kick returner).

Appearances[edit | edit source]

This is a list of players with most Pro Bowl selections. Players listed in bold type are currently active as of the 2011 season.

Number Player Position Seasons by team Year of induction into
Pro Football Hall of Fame
14 Bruce Matthews OL Houston Oilers / Tennessee Oilers / Tennessee Titans (19832001) 2007
14 Merlin Olsen DT Los Angeles Rams (19621976) 1982
13 Jerry Rice WR San Francisco 49ers (19852000)
Oakland Raiders (20012004)
Seattle Seahawks (2004)
13 Reggie White DE Philadelphia Eagles (19851992)
Green Bay Packers (19931998)
Carolina Panthers (2000)
13 Ray Lewis LB Baltimore Ravens (1996–present) Still active
12 Tony Gonzalez TE Kansas City Chiefs (19972008)
Atlanta Falcons (2009–present)
Still active
12 Ken Houston S Houston Oilers (19671972)
Washington Redskins (19731980)
12 Randall McDaniel OL Minnesota Vikings (19881999)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20002001)
12 Junior Seau LB San Diego Chargers (19902002)
Miami Dolphins (20032005)
New England Patriots (20062009)
Not eligible
12 Will Shields OL Kansas City Chiefs (19932006) Not yet nominated
11 Larry Allen OL Dallas Cowboys (19942005)
San Francisco 49ers (20062007)
Not eligible
11 Champ Bailey DB Washington Redskins (19992003)
Denver Broncos (2004–present)
Still active
11 Derrick Brooks LB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19952008) Not eligible
11 Brett Favre QB Atlanta Falcons (1991)
Green Bay Packers (19922007)
New York Jets (2008)
Minnesota Vikings (20092010)
Not eligible
11 Bob Lilly DT Dallas Cowboys (19611974) 1980
11 Peyton Manning QB Indianapolis Colts (19982011) Still active
11 Gino Marchetti DE Dallas Texans (1953)
Baltimore Colts (19531966)
11 Anthony Muñoz OL Cincinnati Bengals (19801992) 1998
11 Jonathan Ogden OL Baltimore Ravens (19962007) Not eligible
11 Willie Roaf OL New Orleans Saints (19932001)
Kansas City Chiefs (20022005)
11 Bruce Smith DE Buffalo Bills (19851999)
Washington Redskins (20002003)
11 Rod Woodson DB Pittsburgh Steelers (19871996)
San Francisco 49ers (1997)
Baltimore Ravens (19982001)
Oakland Raiders (20022003)

Television[edit | edit source]

  • Under the current NFL television contract, the network which airs the Super Bowl will air the Pro Bowl. The 2007 game on CBS was held on the Saturday after Super Bowl XLI because of the 49th Grammy Awards. The 2008 game was on Fox, broadcaster of Super Bowl XLII. Likewise, the 2009 game was on NBC, broadcaster of Super Bowl XLIII. CBS sold off their rights to the 2010 game to ESPN, which was played a week before the Super Bowl at the Super Bowl site, Sun Life Stadium.
  • The Pro Bowl was originally broadcast on an alternative basis by CBS and NBC (with the other network broadcasting the Super Bowl) from 1971–1974. Later, the game was broadcast as part of the Monday Night Football package on ABC from 1975–1987 and again from 1995–2003. In 2004–2006, ABC sold its rights to the Pro Bowl to sister network ESPN (who had shown it from 1988–1994). In those years, the ESPN Sunday Night Football crew covered the game.
  • In the early 2000s, after suffering through several years of dwindling ratings ABC considered moving the game to Monday night. The idea was scrapped, however, when ABC decided to sell off the rights to sister network ESPN.
  • Throughout his broadcasting career, John Madden declined to be part of the announcing crew when his network carried the Pro Bowl due to his aviatophobia and claustrophobia (a joke referencing both is made in the Madden NFL '97 before the beginning of the Pro Bowl in season mode, where Madden quips that he drove his "Madden Bus" to Hawaii, rather than flying). Until Madden's retirement from broadcasting after the 2009 Pro Bowl, it had only occurred twice: former San Diego Chargers quarterback and MNF personality Dan Fouts, whom Madden had replaced, took his place on ABC in 2003, and Cris Collinsworth took his place on NBC in 2009 (Collinsworth ended up replacing Madden permanently upon the latter's retirement).
  • ESPN will hold exclusive rights to the Pro Bowl from 2015 through 2022.[19]

Blackout of game in Hawaii[edit | edit source]

Although Hawaii does not have a NFL team of its own, the Pro Bowl is still subject to the NFL's blackout policies, requiring the game to be blacked out within the state of Hawaii if it does not sell out all of its seats.[20][21] This restriction was not in effect in Hawaii for the 2010 game, but was transferred to the Miami media market.

Criticism[edit | edit source]

Lack of quality[edit | edit source]

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 understandable fear of player injury.

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. This problem—of not having the best players in the game—was only 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 ( refused to even include one pre-game story on the event in 2012), the players on the field appear to be taking it less seriously as well. In the 2012 game, the lack of defensive effort was apparent, not only to anyone watching the game, but to anyone who saw the score—100 points were scored in the game. One NFL player watching the game said, "They probably should have just put flags on them,",[[22] indicating that game was about on the level of a child's game of flag football. The situation has grown so bad that Commissioner Roger Goodell has acknowledged that he is considering eliminating the game altogether. [23]

Selection process[edit | edit source]

Fan voting has increased criticism 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.[24]

The player voting has also been subject to significant criticism. It is not uncommon for the players to pick the same players over and over again; former offensive lineman (and analyst) Ross Tucker has cited politics, incumbency, and compensation for injury in previous years as primary factors in player's choices among themselves. Thus, players who have seen their play decline with age will still be perennially elected to the Pro Bowl due to their popularity among the players, a situation particularly common among positions such as the offensive line, where few statistics are available.[25]

Some players have had a surprisingly small number of Pro Bowl selections despite distinguished careers. Hall of fame running back John Riggins was only selected once in his career from 1971-1985. He was not selected in the year where he set the record for rushing touchdowns in a season and his team made it to the Super Bowl (though 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.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "NFC reels in five picks to throttle AFC in Pro Bowl". Associated Press. January 30, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011. "The NFC's 55-41 victory, a game not nearly as interesting as that score would indicate, did nothing to repair the tattered image of the NFL's all-star contest."
  2. Fletcher, Dan (January 29, 2010). "Is the NFL Pro Bowl Broken?". Time.,8599,1957574,00.html. Retrieved January 31, 2011. "While the Pro Bowl managed to sell out Dolphins Stadium, the game usually pulls down mediocre TV ratings; it's the only major all-star game that draws lower ratings than regular-season matchups."
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Brandon Marshall catches Pro Bowl-record 4 TDs in AFC's win". Associated Press. January 30, 2012. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012.
  4. Crawford, Fred R. (1990). "The First Pro Bowl Game" (PDF). The Coffin Corner 12 (4). Archived from the original on January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
  5. Gill, Bob (1983). "The Best Of The Rest: Part One" (PDF). The Coffin Corner 5 (11). Archived from the original on January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Pro Bowl game approved by National Grid League". The Palm Beach Post. AP: p. 21. June 4, 1950. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  7. Wyche, Steve (2009-12-28). "Pro Bowl selections, like game itself, will have new wrinkles". Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  8. "All-Time Results". 2011 NFL Pro Bowl Official Game Program (NFL Publishing): 191-92. 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  9. "2011 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl Facts and Figures". Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  10. "2011 Pro Bowl: Time, Announcers, Rosters And More For NFL's All-Star Event". Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Corbett, Jim (2008-02-11). "Peterson helps NFC roar back for Pro Bowl crown". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  12. "Giants Beat Stars; Ward Cuff Is Hero". Milwaukee Journal. UP: p. L-7. January 16, 1939. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  13. "The 1952 Pro Bowl". Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Saturday game.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Monday night game.
  16. Filled in for then-Jets head coach Bill Parcells
  17. 17.0 17.1 "2010-11 NFL Calendar". Retrieved 2011-09-15.
  19. Molloy, Tim and Lucas Shaw (September 8, 2011). 'Monday Night Football' to Remain on ESPN Through 2021. The Wrap. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  20. NFL lifts TV blackout as Pro Bowl nears sell out[dead link]
  21. Pro Bowl Blackout Date Extended (KHOU-TV)
  23. [1]
  24. Jemele Hill (2008-12-09). "Take away the fan vote". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  25. Tucker, Ross. NFL Pro Bowl voting among players should be consistent.

External links[edit | edit source]

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