Since the NFL’s Pro Bowl operates a little differently from other all-star games, there are some fans who still need the NFL Pro Bowl explained to them.
After all, it’s not played in the middle of the season like the other major all-star games in North American pro sports. Also, the NFL has made some tweaks and changes to the exhibition game over the years, which is another reason why there are still fans out there who need the NFL Pro Bowl explained.
NFL Pro Bowl explained
With so many lingering questions about the Pro Bowl from fans, we wanted to help clear some things up. After all, making the Pro Bowl is a big deal for most players and also matters when discussing the best NFL players of all time.
If you’re a fan who needs the NFL Pro Bowl explained or has some lingering questions about the exhibition game, we’re here to provide answers to all of the important questions and everything you need to know about the NFL Pro Bowl.
What is the point of the Pro Bowl?
The point of the Pro Bowl is to serve as an all-star game for NFL players. While there have been a few rule changes over the years, the game has typically been played between the best players from the AFC and the best players from the NFC. The game is nothing more than an exhibition that’s designed to put the best players from that season on the same field.
Of course, the result of the game doesn’t carry a lot of meaning for players, so the intensity level falls well below what fans are accustomed to seeing during regular-season or playoff games, especially since the Pro Bowl is played at the end of a long season.
However, most NFL fans show at least some interest in the Pro Bowl because of the amount of star power on the field and the bragging rights that come with having players from their favorite team selected to play in the game.
In addition to helping to honor the best players from the past season, the Pro Bowl does have some historical significance. The number of Pro Bowl selections a player has received during his career often plays a role in judging that player’s career when it’s over.
For example, when debating the greatest tight ends in NFL history, it’s worth mentioning that Tony Gonzalez was selected to 14 Pro Bowls during his career whereas Antonio Gates was only a Pro Bowler eight times. Granted, Pro Bowl selections are just one metric for judging how a player is remembered historically and what his chances are for getting selected for the Hall of Fame. However, in a historical context, a player’s Pro Bowl selections show how frequently they were among the best players at their position.
What does it mean to be named a Pro Bowler?
In a practical sense, being named a Pro Bowler allows a player to play one more game at the end of the season. It also provides an opportunity to spend a week in a warm climate preparing for the game, enabling players to spend time with players from other teams without the pressure and intensity of a regular-season or playoff game.
Of course, every player probably feels a little differently about being selected for the Pro Bowl. For veteran players who have been to the Pro Bowl before, it might not be as special because they’ve been there before and grown accustomed to all that comes with being a Pro Bowler.
However, for a young player, a journeyman player, or a player who went undrafted, being selected to the Pro Bowl might be viewed as a huge honor and a sign that they’ve succeeded in establishing themselves as one of the best players in the NFL.
How are NFL Pro Bowl rosters decided?
Pro Bowl voting rules give equal weight to coaches, players, and fans. The ballots collected from each of those three groups count as one-third of the total Pro Bowl voting. Of course, since there are more players than coaches in the league and far more fans voting for the Pro Bowl than players in the league, each individual fan has a little less influence than players and coaches.
In fact, each coach’s vote makes up a larger percentage of that one-third than any player or fan, giving coaches a little more influence over who gets invited to the Pro Bowl.
Fans who want to be part of the voting process can fill out their ballots on the NFL’s website. Prior to 1995, fans weren’t allowed to vote on what players to make the Pro Bowl. Obviously, fans can be biased toward their favorite team, turning Pro Bowl voting into more of a popularity contest than a true indicator of what players had the best season.
But that’s why the large conglomerate of fan voting counts the same as the NFL’s small contingency of coaches, giving them the most influence over Pro Bowl selections.
Do NFL players get paid for the Pro Bowl?
Players who participate in the Pro Bowl are paid. To give those participating in the game a little extra motivation, players on the winning team make more money than players from the losing team. The winning team typically makes roughly double what the losing team gets.
Naturally, the payment players have received for participating in the Pro Bowl has increased over the years. As of the 2022 NFL season, players on the winning Pro Bowl team receive $84,000 each while players from the losing team leave with a $42,000 bonus. That’s a far cry from 50 years ago when the winning players made $2,000 each and the losing players made $1,500 each.