By dinner time Tuesday the mystery of who has earned the honor of being selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl will be unmasked on NFL Total Access Pro Bowl Selection Show (NFL Network, 7 p.m. ET). What won’t be known, however, is who actually will play in the NFL’s annual All-Star game.
The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 31 in Miami, a week before the Super Bowl, which also will be played at Dolphin Stadium. This means players on Super Bowl teams won’t be able to compete in the showcase that normally was played after the Super Bowl in Honolulu.
The changing of the game’s location and date –- the NFL made the move, in part, to heighten interest -– means that some players won’t know if they’ll be able to participate until after the AFC and NFC championship games.
We always hear players say they’d rather compete for a Super Bowl title than to play in any other game. Now we’ll really see.
Pro Bowlers on Super Bowl teams will maintain their Pro Bowl status and the league plans to introduce them before kickoff. Whether all those Super Bowl Pro Bowlers will be in attendance could depend on their team’s practice schedule leading up to the championship game and if they want to, or are allowed to, break away.
Pro Bowlers on Super Bowl teams will be replaced by players who received the next amount of votes from fans, players, and coaches. In actuality, the replacement of players and the inability of others to play is nothing new. The main difference is that, in the past, players who did not take part in the Pro Bowl did so voluntarily or because of injury.
So while the debate will immediately rage about those snubbed from the Pro Bowl, some of those not elected to play might want to keep their late January schedules clear since they could be tabbed to play once Super Bowl teams are decided.
In another twist, the AFC and NFC coaching staffs won’t come from the losing teams of the conference games anymore.
Here is the formula: The teams that lose in the divisional playoff game with the best regular-season record will have their coaching staffs lead their respective conference Pro Bowl team. If the losing teams of each conference had the same regular season record the coaches from the higher-seeded team will get the Pro Bowl honor.
For example: Should Dallas and Green Bay lose in the NFC divisional rounds and the Cowboys enter the playoffs with a better regular-season record, Dallas' Wade Phillips and his staff would coach the NFC Pro Bowl team.