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.
|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.
|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|