The 2015 NFL Pro Bowl will not be played in the Aloha state of Hawaii, but instead will be hosted in the same stadium as the Super Bowl in Arizona. Cardinals President Michael Bidwill came up with the idea of having the game in Arizona who then suggested it to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodel.
This will be the third time that the Pro Bowl will be hosted in the same stadium as the Super Bowl. On Jan. 15, 1967 the first Super Bowl and Pro Bowl were held at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and in 2010 they took place in South Florida.
Pro Bowl tickets will first be offered to Cardinals season ticket holders and Pro Bowl season ticket members, while ticket subscribers in Hawaii will maintain account status for coming games in Hawaii, where the Pro Bowl will be held again in 2016.
The Pro Bowl is one of the most watched all-star game in all of professional sports, last year generating 11.4 million viewers. In the 2014 game, the format of selecting teams was changed from the best of AFC versus best of NFC – which has been the standard since 1971 – to selecting two teams without regard to which conference they play for. Instead, coaches and players are chosen with the help of viewers via online voting.
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the 2014 Pro Bowl generated $72 million in direct visitor spending.
The Pro Bowl is slotted to be played on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN at 8pm ET. The Super Bowl will be hosted in the same stadium a week later, Feb. 1. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee will host the Pro Bowl and supporting events.
Last year’s game showed all six quarterbacks from both sides surpassing 80 passing yards, but the offensive MVP award went to Nick Foles for his 7-of-10 passing for 89 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter, though it was not enough as Team Jerry Rice walked away with the victory in the last minutes of the game.
The MVP award capped a breakout season for Foles with 27 touchdowns, two interceptions, a 119.2 passer rating and a Pro Bowl MVP, making him the fist NFL player to accomplish all of that in the same year.
Washington’s rusher, Alfred Morris, contributed more in the passing game than running, catching four passes for 69 yards, while only rushing the ball twice for four yards. No one else had a bigger passing game than Cleveland Browns’ receiver Josh Gordon, however, who caught six passes for 66 yards and a touchdown leading Team Rice to a turnaround win.
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona — where the Pro Bowl is to be played — first opened in 2006 and features the first fully retractable natural grass field built in the US. It played home to Super Bowl XLII in 2008, arguably one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history in which the New York Giants defeated the, then undefeated, New England Patriots 17-14.
Commentary by Cody Long