The annual NFL Pro Bowl may be a gloried exhibition game but it's not even going to be played this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Originally scheduled for Jan. 31 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the NFL announced in mid-October that the 2021 Pro Bowl would not take place.
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 pretty nice check to finish out the 2020 season.
In a typical season, win or lose, Pro Bowl participants are paid for their participation. The share for the winning team in last year's year Pro Bowl (AFC) was $70,000, which is more than the players that lose this year's Super Bowl ($65,000) are set to receive.
And like every other thing that has to do with money related to the NFL, the amount Pro Bowl participants get these days has come a long way. Consider that in 1971, members of the NFC team that won the Pro Bowl were paid just $2,000. Even adjusted for 2021 dollars, that's just $12,851. 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.
Source: 2020 NFL Postseason Media Guide