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The Pro Bowl is the annual all-star game of the NFL. Since the 1980's, it has been held at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is held one week after the Super Bowl. The participants in the Pro Bowl are decided by fans, who can vote by visiting the Pro Bowl website.
A postseason All-Star game between the new league champion and a team of professional all-stars was added to the NFL schedule in January 1939, at the end of the 1938 season. In the first game at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, CA the New York Giants beat a team made up of players from NFL teams and two independent clubs the Los Angeles Bulldogs and the Hollywood Stars. An all-NFL All-Star team and regular NFL franchise battled on the football field until the end of the 1942 season.
The NFL revived the game in January 1951, after the 1950 pro football season. It was a contest between conference all-star teams: American vs National (1951-53), Eastern vs Western (1954-1970), and AFC vs NFC (since 1971).
After the AFL-NFL Merger of 1970, the name of the NFL's all-star game was changed to the "AFC-NFC Pro Bowl". Since the merger, the head coaches of the teams that lost in the AFC and NFC championship games have been selected as the coaches for the respective Pro Bowl squads — a compromise that arose from the decision to discontinue the Playoff Bowl, which had it been retained, would have matched up the two teams that lost the conference title games.
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 site, nfl.com. 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.
Pro Bowl MVP
The first Most Valuable Player award in the Pro Bowl was presented in 1951. From 1957 to 1971, two awards were presented to an offensive back and a defensive lineman. In 1972, there were awards for both an offensive player and a defensive player. Since 1973, there's been only one single MVP award.
NFL All-Star games (1939-1942)
- No Most Valuable Player awards were presented during these games
|January 15, 1939||New York Giants 13, Pro All-Stars 10|
|January 14, 1940||Green Bay Packers 16, NFL All-Stars 7|
|December 29, 1940||Chicago Bears 28, NFL All-Stars 14|
|January 4, 1942||Chicago Bears 35, NFL All-Stars 24|
|December 27, 1942||NFL All-Stars 17, Washington Redskins 14|
- 1943-50 - No games (mainly because of World War II)
NFL Pro Bowls (1951-70)
AFC-NFC Pro Bowls (1971-present)
- 1939 - Wrigley Field, Los Angeles
- 1940 - Gilmore Stadium, Los Angeles (both games)
- Jan., 1942 - Polo Grounds, New York City
- Dec., 1942 - Shibe Park, Philadelphia
- 1951-72 - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
- 1973 - Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas
- 1974 - Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
- 1975 - Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
- 1976 - Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
- 1977 - Kingdome, Seattle, Washington
- 1978 - Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
- 1979 - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
- 1980-present - Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
AFC NFC Pro Bowl
- The AFC and NFC have split the series, each winning 18 games.
- Of interesting note is that in the 36 seasons since the AFL-NFL Merger, the NFC has won both the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl 9 times, while the AFC has won both 8 times. In the years they have split, the AFC has won the Pro Bowl and NFC won the Super Bowl 10 times, while the reverse has occurred 9 times.
- Buffalo Bills players have won 4 MVP awards, more than any other team. The Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams have won 3, while 10 teams have won 2, and 12 teams have won 1 each. The Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Houston Texans have never had a player win an MVP award.
- Quarterbacks have won 12 MVP awards; wide receivers are second with 7.
NFL Pro Bowls (1951-70)
- The National/Western Conference won 13 of 20 games played against the American/Eastern Conference.
- Of interesting note is that in the 20 seasons of the format, the Western/National Conference has won both the Pro Bowl and the NFL Championship game 9 times, while the Eastern/American won both 2 times. In the years they have split, the East won the Pro Bowl and West won the NFL title 5 times, while the reverse has occurred 4 times.