The Business Behind the NFL Pro Bowl Games

September 27, 2022 – Media Mention

Co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law GroupIrwin Kishner, spoke to Boardroom about the reasoning behind the NFL's plans to rebrand the Pro Bowl into the "Pro Bowl Games," which will turn the event into a weeklong skills competition and a flag football game.

The article remarks on a "recommitment" to flag football, noting that it is an all-inclusive sport, allowing the NFL to use "[t]he Pro Bowl Games as a platform to spotlight Flag football as an integral part of the sport's future while also introducing fun, new forms of competition and entertainment that will bring [the] players, their families and fans closer than ever before." 

Irwin reflected on the reasoning why the NFL decided to bring flag football to the global forefront instead of tackle football. “Flag football is a much easier game to play,” Irwin stated. “You can see pick-up games in flag football and the extent to which people playing . . .  increases the overall popularity in the country and elsewhere. It is not very typical for people to do pick-up leagues for tackle football [but] in flag football it is more likely, and you can have different sexes play at the same time.”

The article furthered discussed the dip in ratings for the Pro Bowl as well as the decision of some players to opt out of attending the event. The article notes that the game is on the brink of the offseason and those players "eligible for contract extensions are risking millions of dollars by chancing an injury." Moreover, "[n]ot only could an injury could affect performance on the field, but it could also be a salary cap burden. And an injured player with guaranteed money will be in no rush to restructure his contract." Irwin concluded “People are not prepping for the Pro Bowl in the same way you prep for a regular season game because it is ultimately for a meaningless concept.”

Read the full article in Boardroom here. Access may require a subscription.