2015 Pro Bowl Packs up for Arizona, but Returns to Hawaii in 2016

Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell
Rob Foldy USA TODAY Sports

If the Pro Bowl gets played in another location, will anyone notice?

The NFL announced Wednesday that they will be taking a hiatus from their usual tropical Hawaiian location for the 2015 Pro Bowl. The game will be held in Arizona at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, the regular home of the Arizona Cardinals as well as the location of Super Bowl XLIX, being played that following week.  Although the game has been held in Aloha Stadium in the city of Honolulu since the early 1980’s, it did detour to Sun Life Stadium in Miami for the 2010 version.

Let’s be honest, the tropical sunny location during the winter season is a large part of the Pro Bowl’s appeal.  The actual game itself tends to be lacking the allure of the regular NFL, and panning to the coaches and staff in Hawaiian shirts and leis along with beautiful shots of the landscape at least makes it less drab and mediocre.

In their defense, the NFL revamped the format of the actual game last year, in an attempt to draw more viewers in and get the players excited about participating. Instead of the usual AFC versus NFC traditional lineups, they implemented two mixed conference teams picked playground-style by anointed coaches Jerry Rice and Deon Sanders.

The new hipper format seemed to appeal to the NFL’s demographic, as fans responded positively via all forms of social media.  The 2014 version was watched by 11.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched All-Star type game in all sports in the past four years.  Fans were actually into the game and there was a buzz that hadn’t been there in past years.

In an obvious decision, they have decided to utilize the same format for the 2015 Pro Bowl, which will take place on January 25. It is unclear at this time if the honorary coaches will remain the same or if new ones will get the nod.

The NFL does have an agreement with the state of Hawaii to return to Honolulu in 2016, but it has not yet been confirmed when that will take place.  Hopefully, this upward trend of Pro Bowl viewership will continue, as it is an honor for these athletes, and one that they should be excited and proud to participate in.

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Jennifer Eakins
Jennifer Eakins is a sports analyst and proud alumna of the University of Georgia Grady School of Journalism. She is a wife and mother who attempts to juggle it all while maintaining sanity. You can follow her on Twitter @themondaymommy.