NFL Pro Bowl

PRO BOWL

The Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the NFL (National Football League). Although an all-star game was played in 1939, the concept didn’t gain prominence until after the Second World War. Traditionally the Pro Bowl pitted the best players from the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference against each other the weekend prior to the Super Bowl. But as of the 2013/2014 season, it is captain against captain, with the players being selected by the coaches, the players themselves and fans, disregarding conferences all together.

The standalone game has been criticised in the past, with claims the physicality was not up to standard as players were more worried about injuries. The rules of this showcase differ to that of traditional NFL games to make it more enjoyable. Firstly, there are no blitzes’ to give the wide receivers and quarterbacks space to pull off that epic touchdown. Secondly, kick-offs are eliminated. Teams start on their own 25-yard line after any score or at the start of each period. Thirdly, no calls can be challenged like they are in regular and post-season games.

Since its inception, the NFC has come out victorious 36 times, while the AFC is falling behind, lifting the Pro Bowl trophy on 28 occasions. The first game under the new rule changes saw Team Rice, captained by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, defeat Team Sanders, captained by two time Super Bowl Champion Deion Sanders, 22-21.


PREVIOUS PRO BOWL WINNERS


YEAR WINNER TEAM SCORE
2014 TEAM IRVIN TEAM CARTER 32-28
2013 TEAM RICE TEAM SANDERS 22-21
2012 NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE 62-35
2011 AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE 59-41
2010 NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE 55-41
2009 AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE 41-34
2008 NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE 30-21
2007 NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE 42-30
2006 AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE 31-28
2005 NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE 23-17

The Pro Bowl also has an MVP award, just like the Super Bowl. Since 2013, the MVP Award is awarded to the best offensive player on the field and the best defensive player on the day. Many great players have won the award over the years, including the infamous OJ Simpson. Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas won the coveted award three times.


PREVIOUS PRO BOWL MVP WINNERS


YEAR WINNER TEAM POSITION
2014 MATTHEW STAFFORD (O) DETROIT LIONS QUARTERBACK
2014 JJ WATT (D) HOUSTON TEXANS DEFENSIVE END
2013 NICK FOLES (O) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES QUARTERBACK
2013 DERRICK JOHNSON (D) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS LINEBACKER
2012 KYLE RUDOLPH MINNESOTA VIKINGS TIGHT END
2011 BRANDON MARSHALL MIAMI DOLPHINS WIDE RECEIVER
2010 DEANGELO HALL WASHINGTON REDSKINS CORNERBACK
2009 MATT SCHAUB HOUSTON TEXANS QUARTERBACK
2008 LARRY FITZGERALD ARIZONA CARDINALS WIDE RECEIVER
2007 ADRIAN PETERSON MINNESOTA VIKINGS RUNNING BACK
2006 CARSON PALMER CINCINNATI BENGALS QUARTERBACK