Losing any game hurts, even when it's the NFL Pro Bowl. It especially hurts for the NFC, considering the AFC has won all four since returning to the format in 2016. Neither side got a chance to claim bragging rights last season, as the 2021 Pro Bowl was canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
But the Pro Bowl is back on the schedule for 2022, set for Feb. 6 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. This means that invited players (that are able and choose to participate) will get a chance to spend a few days in Sin City before taking part in the glorified exhibition game.
And win or lose (and I don't mean what happens in the casinos), Pro Bowl participants are paid for showing up. In fact, the losing side will get paid $40,000, which is more than the players on teams (that didn't win their division) got for losing in this year's Wild Card Round ($37,500) of the playoffs.
So while it's certainly not the big stage of the Super Bowl, at least there's some benefit to being invited to and taking part in the Pro Bowl. And even if the winning team is paid considerably more ($80,000 this year), it's still a far cry from what Pro Bowl losers used to get.
Here's a breakdown of how the share for both the winning and losing teams in the Pro Bowl has changed since the AFC vs. NFC format was introduced in 1971. Even adjusted for inflation, players are making a lot more money than they once did.
|Year||Pro Bowl Winner's Share||Pro Bowl Loser's Share|
*2021 Pro Bowl was not played due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Source: 2022 NFL Postseason Media Guide