NFL Pro Bowl Goes Back to AFC-NFC Format


Logan Winser and Kyle Hoeppner

In the National Football league, the Pro Bowl is a prestigious game played a week before the Super Bowl. This NFL season’s Pro Bowl took place on Sunday, January 29th, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. It featured some of the best players throughout the league and was a matchup between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference.

For the past three years, the Pro Bowl was between NFL All-Stars that were drafted to teams that were run by Pro Football Hall of Famers. In 2014, the Pro Bowl teams were run by Hall of Famers, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders. In 2015, they were run by Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin. And in 2016, it was team Rice versus team Irvin. This year, the Pro Bowl went back to NFC versus AFC.

This year’s Pro Bowl featured a brand new skills showdown. The idea was for the best players in the NFL to compete in events, conference versus conference the Thursday before the Pro Bowl. The events were Best Hand, Dodgeball, Drone Drop, Power Relay Challenge, and Precision Passing. According to NBC sports the skills showdown got 989,000 viewers.

“I thought the skills showdown was fun to watch.” said Arrowhead junior Adam Nannetti. “I liked watching the NFC win the dodgeball challenge.”

A new feature to this year’s Pro Bowl was it had an AFC versus NFC matchup. This was the first time since 2012 that the league is using the traditional format following a three-year experiment with unconferenced squads, which featured past NFL legends drafting from pools of Pro Bowl eligible players on ESPN.

The league also changed the location of the Pro Bowl.  Since the creation of the Pro Bowl, it was played in Honolulu, Hawaii. This year, however, the game was played in Orlando, Florida. The move was due to keeping the game in the continental United States, and the NFL requested Disney to partener if the Pro Bowl was played in Orlando.

At the time of the announcement, in June of 2016, Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about the opportunity: “Collaborating with Disney and ESPN brings us closer to the best in youth and family-focused entertainment.” said Goodell. “We look forward to working with the city of Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports to create a week-long celebration for football and our fans.”

Disney also partnered up with ESPN who aired the event.