The Games   The National Football League first played an All-Star Game on January 15, 1939 in Los Angeles.  Today, this game is officially known as the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.  The game has traditionally been the final game of the NFL season annually.  The Pro Bowl was been played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii from 1980 to 2009.  The 2010 game was moved to South Florida for one year and played the week before the Super Bowl. In the early years, the event was held as a charity contest with very low payments to the winning and losing players. 

The first All-Star Game was between the 1938 NFL champions, the New York Giants, and a team of all-stars assembled from the other NFL teams plus players from two independent west coast teams, the Los Angeles Bulldogs and the Hollywood Stars.  In the 1930's, west coast leagues were formed, but failed.  The first game was played at Wrigley Field in South-Central Los Angeles.  The stadium was owned by William Wrigley of bubble-gum fame and was an exact replica of the more famous Chicago stadium.  The game was played following the regular season for 5 years through 1942, with an all-NFL All-Star team providing the opposition to the league champion over the next four seasons.  It was moved to the east coast in 1942 due to concerns over the war in the Pacific. The event was cancelled after the game at the close of the 1942 season. 

The game was revived for the 1950 season and was played on January 14, 1951 as a contest between conference all-star teams. The game was now known as the Pro Bowl.  As the NFL evolved and changed through the years, the Pro Bowl also changed in format.  The opposing sides were American Conference vs. National Conference (1951-53), Eastern vs. Western (1954-1970), and AFC vs. NFC (since 1971).  The fledgling American Football league also played an AFL All-Star Game from 1962-1970.

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.  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 one single MVP award.

Click on the buttons in the left margin to take a stroll through the rich history of the Pro Bowl.  The game has featured the greatest NFL players for over 70 years.








The photos and historical information in the Pro Bowl pages of this website are the properties of their respective owners and not intended for distribution.  The site is intended for educational use. The data is comprised of the website developers private collection of photos and articles privately collected since 1968.  Sources include The Sporting News, Associated Press, United Press International and the NFL.