San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are a professional American football team located in the San Francisco Bay Area. They compete in the National Football League as a member of the league's National Football Conference West division; the team plays its home games at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, located 45 miles southeast of San Francisco in the heart of Silicon Valley. Since 1988, the 49ers have been headquartered in Santa Clara; the team was founded in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference and joined the NFL in 1949 when the leagues merged. The 49ers were the first major league professional sports franchise based in San Francisco; the name "49ers" comes from the prospectors who arrived in Northern California in the 1849 Gold Rush. The team is and corporately registered as the San Francisco Forty Niners; the team began play at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco before moving across town to Candlestick Park in 1970 and to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara in 2014. The 49ers won five Super Bowl championships between 1981 and 1994, led by Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, coach Bill Walsh.
As of 2017, the team has won 12 conference championships, with the first in 1981 and the last in 2018. They have been division champions 29 times between 1970 and 2019, making them one of the most successful teams in NFL history; the 49ers have been in the league playoffs 50 times: 49 times in the NFL and one time in the AAFC. The team has set numerous notable NFL records, including most consecutive road games won, most consecutive seasons leading league scoring, most consecutive games scored, most field goals in a season, fewest turn-overs in a season, most touchdowns in a Super Bowl. According to Forbes Magazine, the team is the 4th most-valuable team in the NFL, valued at $3 billion in July 2016. In 2016, the 49ers were ranked the 10th most valuable sports team in the world, behind basketball's Los Angeles Lakers and above soccer's Bayern Munich; the San Francisco 49ers, an original member of the new All-America Football Conference, were the first major league professional sports franchise based in San Francisco, one of the first major league professional sports teams based on the Pacific Coast.
In 1946, the team joined the Los Angeles Rams of the rival National Football League as the first two teams playing a "big four"-sport in the Western United States becoming part of the NFL themselves in 1950. In 1957, the 49ers enjoyed their first sustained success as members of the NFL. After losing the opening game of the season, the 49ers won their next three against the Rams and Packers before returning home to Kezar Stadium for a game against the Chicago Bears on October 27, 1957; the 49ers fell behind the Bears 17–7. Tragically, 49ers owner Tony Morabito died during the game; the 49ers players learned of his death at halftime when coach Frankie Albert was handed a note with two words: "Tony's gone." With tears running down their faces, motivated to win for their departed owner, the 49ers scored 14 unanswered points to win the game, 21–17. Dicky Moegle's late-game interception in the endzone sealed the victory. After Tony's death 49er ownership went to Tony's widow, Josephine V. Morabito; the 49ers special assistant to the Morabitos, Louis G. Spadia was named general manager.
During the decade of the 1950s the 49ers were known for their so-called "Million Dollar Backfield", consisting of four future Hall of Fame members: quarterback Y. A. Tittle and running backs John Henry Johnson, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry, they became the only full-house backfield inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For most of the next 13 years, the 49ers hovered around.490, except for 1963 and 1964 when they went 2–12 and 4–10 respectively. Key players for these 49ers included running back Ken Willard, quarterback John Brodie, offensive lineman Bruce Bosley. During this time the 49ers became the first NFL team to use the shotgun formation, it was named by the man who devised the formation, San Francisco 49ers' coach Red Hickey, in 1960. The formation, where the quarterback lines up seven yards behind the center, was designed to allow the quarterback extra time to throw; the formation was used for the first time in 1960 and enabled the 49ers to beat the Baltimore Colts, who were not familiar with the formation.
In 1961 using the shotgun, the 49ers got off to a fast 4–1 start, including two shutouts in back-to-back weeks. In their sixth game they faced the Chicago Bears, who by moving players closer to the line of scrimmage and rushing the quarterback, were able to defeat the shotgun and in fact shut out the 49ers, 31–0. Though the 49ers went only 3–5–1 the rest of the way, the shotgun became a component of most team's offenses and is a formation used by football teams at all levels. In 1962, the 49ers had a frustrating season, they won only one game at Kezar Stadium. After posting a losing record in 1963. Victor Morabito died May 10, 1964, at age 45; the 1964 season was another lost campaign. According to the 1965 49ers Year Book the co-owners of the team were: Mrs. Josephine V. Morabito Fox, Mrs. Jane Morabito, Mrs. O. H. Heintzelman, Lawrence J. Purcell, Mrs. William O'Grady, Albert J. Ruffo, Franklin Mieuli, Frankie Albert, Louis G. Spadia and James Ginella; the 1965 49ers rebounded nicely to finish with a 7–6–1 record.
They were led that year by John Brodie, who after being plagued by injuries came back to become one of the NFL's best passers by throwing for 3,112 yards and 30 touchdowns. In 1966, the Morabito widows named Lou Sp
American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves; the offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, otherwise they turn over the football to the defense. Points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal; the team with the most points at the end of a game wins. American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sports of association football and rugby football; the first match of American football was played on November 6, 1869, between two college teams and Princeton, under rules based on the association football rules of the time.
During the latter half of the 1870s, colleges playing association football switched to the Rugby Union code, which allowed carrying the ball. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, the line of scrimmage, eleven-player teams, the concept of downs; the sport is related to Canadian football, which evolved parallel and contemporary to the American game, most of the features that distinguish American football from rugby and soccer are present in Canadian football. American football as a whole is the most popular sport in the United States; the most popular forms of the game are professional and college football, with the other major levels being high school and youth football. As of 2012, nearly 1.1 million high school athletes and 70,000 college athletes play the sport in the United States annually all of them men, with a few exceptions. The National Football League, the most popular American football league, has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world.
In the United States, American Football is called "football". The terms "gridiron" or "American football" are favored in English-speaking countries where other codes of football are popular, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia. American football evolved from the sports of rugby football. Rugby football, like American football, is a sport where two competing teams vie for control of a ball, which can be kicked through a set of goalposts or run into the opponent's goal area to score points. What is considered to be the first American football game was played on November 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton, two college teams; the game was played between two teams of 25 players each and used a round ball that could not be picked up or carried. It could, however, be kicked or batted with the feet, head or sides, with the ultimate goal being to advance it into the opponent's goal. Rutgers won the game 6 goals to 4. Collegiate play continued for several years in which matches were played using the rules of the host school.
Representatives of Yale, Columbia and Rutgers met on October 19, 1873 to create a standard set of rules for all schools to adhere to. Teams were set at 20 players each, fields of 400 by 250 feet were specified. Harvard abstained from the conference, as they favored a rugby-style game that allowed running with the ball. After playing McGill University using both Canadian and American rules, the Harvard players preferred the Canadian style having only 11 men on the field, running the ball without having to be chased by an opponent, the forward pass and using an oblong instead of a round ball. An 1875 Harvard–Yale game played under rugby-style rules was observed by two impressed Princeton athletes; these players introduced the sport to Princeton, a feat the Professional Football Researchers Association compared to "selling refrigerators to Eskimos." Princeton, Harvard and Columbia agreed to intercollegiate play using a form of rugby union rules with a modified scoring system. These schools formed the Intercollegiate Football Association, although Yale did not join until 1879.
Yale player Walter Camp, now regarded as the "Father of American Football", secured rule changes in 1880 that reduced the size of each team from 15 to 11 players and instituted the snap to replace the chaotic and inconsistent scrum. The introduction of the snap resulted in unexpected consequences. Prior to the snap, the strategy had been to punt. However, a group of Princeton players realized that, as the snap was uncontested, they now could hold the ball indefinitely to prevent their opponent from scoring. In 1881, both teams in a game between Yale-Princeton used this strategy to maintain their undefeated records; each team held the ball. This "block game" proved unpopular with the spectators and fans of both teams. A rule change was necessary to prevent this strategy from taking hold, a reversion to the scrum was considered. However, Camp proposed a rule in 1882 that limited each team to three downs, or tackles, to adva
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's National Football Conference North division, it is the third-oldest franchise in the NFL, dating back to 1919, is the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team based in the United States. Home games have been played at Lambeau Field since 1957; the Packers are the last of the "small town teams" which were common in the NFL during the league's early days of the 1920s and'30s. Founded in 1919 by Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, the franchise traces its lineage to other semi-professional teams in Green Bay dating back to 1896. Between 1919 and 1920, the Packers competed against other semi-pro clubs from around Wisconsin and the Midwest, before joining the American Professional Football Association, the forerunner of today's NFL, in 1921. Although Green Bay is by far the smallest major league professional sports market in North America, Forbes ranked the Packers as the world's 26th most valuable sports franchise in 2016, with a value of $2.35 billion.
The Packers have won 13 league championships, the most in NFL history, with nine pre–Super Bowl NFL titles and four Super Bowl victories. The Packers won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968 and were the only NFL team to defeat the American Football League prior to the AFL–NFL merger; the Vince Lombardi Trophy is named after the Packers' coach of the same name, who guided them to their first two Super Bowls. Their two subsequent Super Bowl wins came in 1996 and 2010; the Packers are long-standing adversaries of the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, who today comprise the NFL's NFC North division, were members of the NFC Central Division. They have played over 100 games against each of those teams through history, have a winning overall record against all of them, a distinction only shared with the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys; the Bears–Packers rivalry is one of the oldest in NFL history, dating back to 1921. The Green Bay Packers were founded on August 11, 1919 by former high-school football rivals Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun.
Lambeau solicited funds for uniforms from his employer, the Indian Packing Company. He was given $500 for uniforms and equipment, on the condition that the team be named for its sponsor; the Green Bay Packers have played in their original city longer than any other team in the NFL. On August 27, 1921, the Packers were granted a franchise in the new national pro football league, formed the previous year. Financial troubles plagued the team and the franchise was forfeited within the year before Lambeau found new financial backers and regained the franchise the next year; these backers, known as "The Hungry Five", formed the Green Bay Football Corporation. After a near-miss in 1927, Lambeau's squad claimed the Packers' first NFL title in 1929 with an undefeated 12–0–1 campaign, behind a stifling defense which registered eight shutouts. Green Bay would repeat as league champions in 1930 and 1931, bettering teams from New York and throughout the league, with all-time greats and future Hall of Famers Mike Michalske, Johnny McNally, Cal Hubbard and Green Bay native Arnie Herber.
Among the many impressive accomplishments of these years was the Packers' streak of 29 consecutive home games without defeat, an NFL record which still stands. The arrival of end Don Hutson from Alabama in 1935 gave Lambeau and the Packers the most-feared and dynamic offensive weapon in the game. Credited with inventing pass patterns, Hutson would lead the league in receptions eight seasons and spur the Packers to NFL championships in 1936, 1939 and 1944. An iron man, Hutson played both ways, leading the league in interceptions as a safety in 1940. Hutson claimed 18 NFL records. In 1951, his number 14 was the first to be retired by the Packers, he was inducted as a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. After Hutson's retirement, Lambeau could not stop the Packers' slide, he purchased a large lodge near Green Bay for team families to live. Rockwood Lodge was the home of the 1946–49 Packers; the 1947 and 1948 seasons produced a record of 12–10–1, 1949 was worse at 3–9. The lodge burned down on January 24, 1950, insurance money paid for many of the Packers' debts.
Curly Lambeau departed after the 1949 season. Gene Ronzani and Lisle Blackbourn could not coach the Packers back to their former magic as a new stadium was unveiled in 1957; the losing would descend to the disastrous 1958 campaign under coach Ray "Scooter" McLean, whose lone 1–10–1 year at the helm is the worst in Packers history. Former New York Giants assistant Vince Lombardi was hired as Packers head coach and general manager on February 2, 1959. Few suspected the hiring represented the beginning of a immediate turnaround. Under Lombardi, the Packers would become the team of the 1960s, winning five World Championships over a seven-year span, including victories in the first two Super Bowls. During the Lombardi era, the stars of the Packers' offense included Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Carroll Dale, Paul Hornung, Forrest Gregg, Jerry Kramer; the defense included Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, Willie Wood, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, Herb Adderley. The Packers' first regular season game under Lombardi was on September 27, 1959, a 9–6 victory over the Chicago Bears in Green Bay.
After winning their first three, the Packers lost the next five before finishing strong by sweeping their final four. The 7–5 record represented the Packers' first winning season since 1947, enough to earn rookie
College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States. Unlike most other sports in North America, no minor league farm organizations exist in American or Canadian football. Therefore, college football is considered to be the second tier of American football in the United States and Canadian football in Canada. However, in some areas of the country, college football is more popular than professional football, for much of the early 20th century, college football was seen as more prestigious than professional football, it is in college football where a player's performance directly impacts his chances of playing professional football. The best collegiate players will declare for the professional draft after three to four years of collegiate competition, with the NFL holding its annual draft every spring in which 256 players are selected annually.
Those not selected can still attempt to land an NFL roster spot as an undrafted free agent. After the emergence of the professional National Football League, college football remained popular throughout the U. S. Although the college game has a much larger margin for talent than its pro counterpart, the sheer number of fans following major colleges provides a financial equalizer for the game, with Division I programs — the highest level — playing in huge stadiums, six of which have seating capacity exceeding 100,000 people. In many cases, college stadiums employ bench-style seating, as opposed to individual seats with backs and arm rests; this allows them to seat more fans in a given amount of space than the typical professional stadium, which tends to have more features and comforts for fans.. College athletes, unlike players in the NFL, are not permitted by the NCAA to be paid salaries. Colleges are only allowed to provide non-monetary compensation such as athletic scholarships that provide for tuition and books.
Modern North American football has its origins in various games, all known as "football", played at public schools in Great Britain in the mid-19th century. By the 1840s, students at Rugby School were playing a game in which players were able to pick up the ball and run with it, a sport known as Rugby football; the game was taken to Canada by British soldiers stationed there and was soon being played at Canadian colleges. The first documented gridiron football match was played at University College, a college of the University of Toronto, November 9, 1861. One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was William Mulock Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear. In 1864, at Trinity College a college of the University of Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland and Frederick A. Bethune devised rules based on rugby football. Modern Canadian football is regarded as having originated with a game played in Montreal, in 1865, when British Army officers played local civilians.
The game gained a following, the Montreal Football Club was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada. Early games appear to have had much in common with the traditional "mob football" played in Great Britain; the games remained unorganized until the 19th century, when intramural games of football began to be played on college campuses. Each school played its own variety of football. Princeton University students played a game called "ballown" as early as 1820. A Harvard tradition known as "Bloody Monday" began in 1827, which consisted of a mass ballgame between the freshman and sophomore classes. In 1860, both the town police and the college authorities agreed; the Harvard students responded by going into mourning for a mock figure called "Football Fightum", for whom they conducted funeral rites. The authorities held firm and it was a dozen years before football was once again played at Harvard. Dartmouth played its own version called "Old division football", the rules of which were first published in 1871, though the game dates to at least the 1830s.
All of these games, others, shared certain commonalities. They remained "mob" style games, with huge numbers of players attempting to advance the ball into a goal area by any means necessary. Rules were simple and injury were common; the violence of these mob-style games led to a decision to abandon them. Yale, under pressure from the city of New Haven, banned the play of all forms of football in 1860. American football historian Parke H. Davis described the period between 1869 and 1875 as the'Pioneer Period'. On November 6, 1869, Rutgers University faced Princeton University in the first-ever game of intercollegiate football, it was played with a round ball and, like all early games, used a set of rules suggested by Rutgers captain William J. Leggett, based
A field goal is a means of scoring in American football and Canadian football. To score a field goal, the team in possession of the ball must place kick, or drop kick, the ball through the goal, i.e. between the uprights and over the crossbar. American football requires that a field goal must only come during a play from scrimmage, while Canadian football retains open field kicks and thus field goals may be scored at any time from anywhere on the field and by any player; the vast majority of field goals, in both codes, are place kicked. Drop kicked field goals were common in the early days of Gridiron football but are never done in modern times. In most leagues, a successful field goal awards three points. A field goal may be scored through a fair catch kick, but this is rare. Since a field goal is worth only three points, as opposed to a touchdown, worth six points, it is only attempted in specific situations; the goal structure consists of a horizontal crossbar suspended 10 feet above the ground, with two vertical goalposts 18 feet 6 inches apart extending vertically from each end of the crossbar.
In American football, the goals are centered on each end line. As a field goal is worth only three points, while a touchdown scores at least six, teams will attempt a field goal only in the following situations: It is fourth down if the offense is more than a yard or two from a new first down, within about 45 yards of the goal posts. In the first half, there is enough time remaining to execute only one more play. In the second half, there is enough time remaining to execute only one more play, the team on offense needs three points to win or tie. Except in desperate situations, a team will attempt field goals only when keeping a drive alive is unlikely, its kicker has a significant chance of success, as a missed field goal results in a turnover at the spot of the kick or at the line of scrimmage. In American high school rules and Canadian football, where a missed field goal is treated the same as a punt, most teams still opt not to attempt field goals from long range since field goal formations are not conducive to covering kick returns.
Under ideal conditions, the best professional kickers had difficulty making kicks longer than 50 yards consistently. If a team chooses not to attempt a field goal on their last down, they can punt to the other team. A punt cannot score any points in American football unless the receiving team touches the ball first and the kicking team recovers it, but it may push the other team back toward its own end; the longest field goal kick in NFL history is 64 yards, a record set by Matt Prater on December 8, 2013. The previous record was 63 set by Tom Dempsey and matched by Jason Elam, Sebastian Janikowski, David Akers, Graham Gano. High school and most professional football leagues offer only a three-point field goal. NFL Europe encouraged long field goals of 50 yards or more by making those worth four points instead of three, a rule since adopted by the Stars Football League; the sport of arena football sought to repopularize the drop kick by making that worth four points. The overall field goal percentage during the 2010 NFL season was 82.3.
In comparison, Jan Stenerud, one of only two pure kickers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, had a career field goal percentage of 66.8 from 1967 to 1985. When a team decides to attempt a field goal, it will line up in a tight formation, with all but two players lined up along or near the line of scrimmage: the placekicker and the holder; the holder is the team's punter or backup quarterback. Instead of the regular center, a team may have a dedicated long snapper trained to snap the ball on placekick attempts and punts; the holder lines up seven to eight yards behind the line of scrimmage, with the kicker a few yards behind him. Upon receiving the snap, the holder holds the ball against the ground vertically, with the stitches away from the kicker; the kicker begins his approach during the snap, so the snapper and holder have little margin for error. A split-second mistake can disrupt the entire attempt; the measurement of a field goal's distance is from the goalpost to the point where the ball was positioned for the kick by the holder.
In American football, where the goalpost is located at the back of the end zone, the ten yards of the end zone are added to the yard line distance at the spot of the hold. Until the 1960s, placekickers approached the ball straight on, with the toe making first contact with the ball; the technique of kicking the ball "soccer-style", by approaching the ball at an a
2008 NFL season
The 2008 NFL season was the 89th regular season of the National Football League, themed with the slogan "Believe in Now." Super Bowl XLIII, the league's championship game, was at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on February 1, 2009, with the Pittsburgh Steelers coming out victorious over the Arizona Cardinals 27–23 and winning their NFL-record sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy. Conversely, the Detroit Lions became the first NFL team with a winless season since the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season, finishing their season 0–16. For the first time since the NFL expanded to the sixteen game season in 1978, three teams won two or fewer games: the Lions, the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams. Two teams won two or fewer games in 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1992 and 2001; the regular season began on September 4 with the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants defeating the Washington Redskins 16–7, concluded with the 2009 Pro Bowl on February 8, 2009, in Honolulu. The following rule changes were passed at the league's annual owners’ meeting in Palm Beach, during the week of March 31: One defensive player will be allowed to wear a radio similar to the one worn by the quarterback to communicate with the coaching staff on the field.
The "force-out" rule on catches made near the sidelines has been eliminated. A receiver now must come down with both feet in bounds for a pass to be ruled complete. However, if a receiver is wrapped up in mid-air by a defender and carried out of bounds before both feet touch the ground, the official can still rule the play a completion; the 5-yard incidental grabbing of the face mask penalty has been eliminated. Teams that win the opening coin toss now have the option to defer the decision until the start of the second half, the same as in college and Canadian football. Field goal attempts that bounce off the goal post are now reviewable under instant replay; this change followed a decision during the previous season during a Browns-Ravens game when Phil Dawson’s game-tying field goal hit an upright and the curved support behind the crossbar, again went over the crossbar to land in front of the goal post. Legal forward hand offs that touch the ground and attempted snaps when the ball hits the ground before the quarterback touches it are now considered fumbles.
Gerald Austin and Larry Nemmers retired. Carl Cheffers and Alberto Riveron were promoted to referee; this was the third season under the league's current television contracts with its American broadcast partners. CBS Sports and Fox Sports televised Sunday afternoon NFC away games, respectively. For primetime games, NBC broadcast ESPN airs Monday Night Football; the NFL Network's Run to the Playoffs broadcast seven Thursday and one Saturday late season night games, although there were negotiations to move those games to ESPN Classic. This was the last NFL season to be broadcast over the air in analog television in the United States. Border stations in Canada and Mexico will continue to broadcast in analog. NBC broadcast Super Bowl XLIII, their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXXII at the end of the 1997 season. ESPN reduced the on-air roles of sideline reporters Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber during the Monday Night Football telecast. Emmitt Smith has been replaced on Sunday NFL Countdown by Cris Carter, who came over from HBO.
Meanwhile, NBC's Football Night in America reunited Dan Patrick with Keith Olbermann on television for the first time since 1997 when they co-hosted SportsCenter. The in-house NFL Network saw Bryant Gumbel resign as their play-by-play announcer after two seasons on the network's Run to the Playoffs package after critics described his play-by-play calling as "lackluster." New York Giants radio announcer Bob Papa took his place. Additionally, NFL Films-produced Inside the NFL changed premium cable homes from Time Warner's HBO after three decades to CBS’ Showtime. Changed: James Brown as host and Phil Simms as one of the analysts. Cris Collinsworth is staying, but Dan Marino has been dropped as a studio analyst, the aforementioned Cris Carter moved to ESPN. Taking their place is Warren Sapp. On December 4, the NFL Network broadcast its game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers to theaters in New York City and Los Angeles using state of the art 3-D technology; the viewings, which were limited to NFL and consumer electronics executives, served as a test for future use of 3D in NFL television games.
Because of a technical glitch, the first half was not shown. On radio, Westwood One separated from its longtime corporate sister, CBS Radio and the Sports USA Radio Network, another syndicator, has been sold along with parent company Jones Radio Networks to the Triton Media Group.. This led to the former "NFL on Westwood One" giving way in 2011 to "NFL on Dial Global". On Internet television, both NFL.com and NBCSports.com carried complete live games of NBC Sunday Night Football for the first time ever. NFL.com continued its live coverage of Thursday and Saturday Night Football, which began in 2007, however for the first time the complete game rather than live look-i
The Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League. From the merger with the rival American Football League in 1970 up through 2013 and since 2017, it is called the AFC–NFC Pro Bowl, matching the top players in the American Football Conference against those in the National Football Conference. From 2014 through 2016, the NFL experimented with an unconferenced format, where the teams were selected by two honorary team captains, instead of selecting players from each conference; the players were picked in a televised "schoolyard pick" prior to the game. Unlike most major sports leagues, which hold their all-star games midway through their regular seasons, the Pro Bowl is played around the end of the NFL season; the first official Pro Bowl was played in January 1951, three weeks after the 1950 NFL Championship Game. Between 1970 and 2009, the Pro Bowl was held the weekend after the Super Bowl. Since 2010, it has been played the weekend before the Super Bowl. Players from the two teams competing in the Super Bowl do not participate.
For years, the game has suffered from lack of interest due to perceived low quality, with observers and commentators expressing their disfavor with it in its current state. It draws lower TV ratings than regular season NFL games, although the game draws similar ratings to other major all-star games, such as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. However, the biggest concern of teams is to avoid injuries to the star players; the Associated Press wrote that players in the 2012 game were "hitting each other as though they were having a pillow fight". Between 1980 and 2016, the game was played at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii except for two years. On June 1, 2016, the NFL announced that they reached a multi-year deal to move the game to Orlando, Florida as part of the league's ongoing efforts to make the game more relevant; the first "Pro All-Star Game", featuring the all-stars of the 1938 season, was played on January 15, 1939 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. The NFL All-Star Game was played again in Los Angeles in 1940 and in New York and Philadelphia in 1941 and 1942 respectively.
Although planned as an annual contest, the all-star game was discontinued after 1942 because of travel restrictions put in place during World War II. During the first five all-star games, an all-star team would face that year's league champion; the league champion won the first four games before the all-stars were victorious in the final game of this early series. The concept of an all-star game was not revived until June 1950, when the newly christened "Pro Bowl" was approved; the game was sponsored by the Los Angeles Publishers Association. It was decided that the game would feature all-star teams from each of the league's two conferences rather than the league champion versus all-star format, used previously; this was done to avoid confusion with the Chicago College All-Star Game, an annual game which featured the league champion against a collegiate all-star team. The teams would be led by the coach of each of the conference champions. Prior to the Pro Bowl, following the 1949 season, the All-America Football Conference, which contributed three teams to the NFL in a partial merger in 1950, held its own all-star game, the Shamrock Bowl.
The first 21 games of the series were played in Los Angeles. The site of the game was changed annually for each of the next seven years before the game was moved to Aloha Stadium in Halawa, Hawaii for 30 straight seasons from 1980 through 2009; the 2010 Pro Bowl was played at Sun Life Stadium, the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins and host site of Super Bowl XLIV, on January 31, the first time that the Pro Bowl was held before the championship game. With the new rule being that the conference teams do not include players from the teams that will be playing in the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl returned to Hawaii in 2011 but was again held during the week before the Super Bowl, where it remained for three more years; the 2012 game was met with criticism from fans and sports writers for the lack of quality play by the players. On October 24, 2012, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had second thoughts about the Pro Bowl, telling a Sirius XM show that if the players did not play more competitively, he was "not inclined to play it anymore".
During the ensuing off-season, the NFL Players Association lobbied to keep the Pro Bowl, negotiated several rule changes to be implemented for the 2014 game. Among them, the teams will no longer be AFC vs. NFC, instead be selected by captains in a fantasy draft. For the 2014 game, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders were chosen as alumni captains, while their captains were Drew Brees and Robert Quinn, along with Jamaal Charles and J. J. Watt. On April 9, 2014, the NFL announced that the 2015 Pro Bowl would be played the week before the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on January 25, 2015; the game returned to Hawaii in 2016, the "unconferenced" format was its last. For 2017, the league considered hosting the game at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which if approved would be the first time the game had been hosted outside the United States; the NFL is considering future Pro Bowls in Mexico and Germany. The NFL hopes that by leveraging international markets with the star power of Pro Bowls, international pop