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. Unfortunately, neither side will get a chance to claim bragging rights this season as the NFL announced in mid-October that this year's Pro Bowl, originally scheduled for Jan. 31 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, would not be played due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Keeping with tradition, Pro Bowl rosters for the AFC and NFC were announced in December and the league instead will host an all-new virtual Pro Bowl that will be directly tied to the popular "Madden NFL 21" video game. On Jan. 31, this year's Pro Bowlers will be recognized and celebrated during special broadcasts that are set to air on ESPN/ABC from 3-5 p.m. ET and on NFL Network from 5-6 p.m. ET.
And while there are certainly more important factors involved in the decision to not hold the Pro Bowl this year, the players that were invited not only miss out on a trip to Las Vegas, they also will miss out on a chance to earn a decent check to finish out the 2020 season.
In a typical season, win or lose, Pro Bowl participants are paid for their participation. In fact, the losing NFC side last year got paid $35,000, which is more than the players who are on teams in the Wild Card or Divisional rounds (maximum $33,000) of this year's playoffs made.
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 ($70,000 last year), it's still a far cry from what Pro Bowl losers use 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.
Source: 2020 NFL Postseason Media Guide