The NFL’s biggest and brightest stars will converge on ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex beginning on Monday, Jan. 22 when the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl returns to Walt Disney World Resort
The NFL is bringing back a week-long celebration to unite and inspire the entire football community. Leading up to the game, the NFL is hosting a series of Pro Bowl Week events, including interactive fan experiences, youth and high school football competitions, and a series of community events with nonprofit organizations and military personnel to positively impact thousands of local residents, children, and their families.
One of the new additions this year is the Pro Bowl Kids Stadium Takeover. For the first time, after the Pro Bowl postgame ceremony, all kids ages 14 and under with parents at Camping World Stadium will be invited to run around the very same field as some of the NFL’s biggest stars.
Additional Pro Bowl Week activities will include the NFL Flag Championships and Play Football High School Day; Pro Bowl Skills Showdown; free access to AFC and NFC Team Practices; NFL Pro Bowl Experience, a free, football-themed fan festival; and NFL PLAY 60 events.
As part of the “Thank You, Coach” initiative, Pro Bowl players will invite a high school coach, who most impacted their life and NFL career, and a guest to celebrate Pro Bowl Week in Orlando. With the Pro Bowl Giveback Program, players will compete for more than bragging rights – each member of the winning team may apply for a $10,000 NFL Foundation grant to be donated to the high school or youth football program of their choice, help leave a lasting legacy on the community, and increase opportunities for the next generation of football players.
The week-long celebration will culminate with the Pro Bowl game, featuring 88 of the NFL’s best players, on Sunday, Jan. 28 at Camping World Stadium that will air on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ABC at a new start time of 3:00 PM ET. Tickets to the 2018 Pro Bowl game are on sale now at ProBowl.com.
ESPN is the League’s media partner for the Pro Bowl and will provide live coverage of the game and many of the events during Pro Bowl Week across the ESPN, ABC, and Disney platforms, in addition to NFL Media. Genesis, the Official Luxury Vehicle of the NFL, will award the Most Valuable Players from the NFC and AFC teams with a brand new Genesis model of their choice.
The Pro Bowl is an all-inclusive event for fans on game day. The 2017 Pro Bowl marked the first autism-friendly game hosted by a professional sports league. Working with KultureCity, Camping World Stadium’s sensory-inclusive partner, the NFL will offer families who attend the 2018 Pro Bowl with support, including sensory accessibility resources and two dedicated sensory rooms located in the stadium to enable them to enjoy the game with more confidence and comfort.
The following are ways the NFL is celebrating the football community, providing fans access to a range of free football activities, and positively impacting Orlando and the surrounding region during Pro Bowl Week.
Thank You, Coach!
Pro Bowl players will be saying “Thank You, Coach!” to that special high school coach who most impacted their life and NFL career. Each Pro Bowl player attending may invite their high school coach and a guest to celebrate Pro Bowl Week in Orlando.
On Friday, Jan. 26, high school coaches will enjoy a special welcome reception, and on Saturday, Jan. 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World, coaches and Pro Bowlers will lead the “Thank You, Coach!” clinic and High School Skills Challenge. On Sunday, Jan. 29, the coaches will attend the Coaches Tailgate at Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium before kickoff and will be recognized on-field alongside their Pro Bowl player.
2018 NFL Pro Bowl Experience
The NFL Pro Bowl Experience will be open to fans Wednesday, January 24 – Thursday, January 25 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET and Friday, January 26 – Saturday, January 27 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
The free-admission, family-friendly football fan festival will bring fans closer to the NFL through interactive games and sponsor activations. New activities to this year’s Pro Bowl Experience include some of the same challenges that AFC & NFC Pro Bowlers will compete in during the Skills Showdown, such as: Kick-Tac-Toe, in which three footballs must be kicked in a row on a giant tic-tac-toe board, and the Best Hands competition to catch as many different passes as possible.
Leading up to Pro Bowl Week, the NFL will launch its official companion app: Pro Bowl – Fan Mobile Pass. It guides visitors through Pro Bowl Week and provides exclusive chances to win prizes, including tickets to the game, autographed footballs, and more. The app will also feature game day content, including real time updates of which players are on the field. Fans are encouraged to register in advance at NFL.com/PBFanMobilePass.
An assortment of free fan activities at the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl Experience are detailed below. No tickets are required.
· 40-Yard Dash: Race down the field against your opponents and virtual NFL players on a giant 40-yard long LED wall.
· Airbrush Tattoos: Show your team spirit through NFL and Pro Bowl themed airbrush tattoos and face painting.
· Best Hands: Catch as many different passes as possible like an NFL all-star.
· Family Football Zone – An interactive area for kids and families to play together. Play catch in the field or take part in a range of football and tailgate-themed games.
· Kick-Tac-Toe: Kick 3 in a row on a giant tic-tac-toe board. The Kick-Tac-Toe challenge will also occur doing the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, where AFC & NFC Pro Bowlers will attempt to do the same.
· Long Snap Accuracy Challenge Presented by Verizon– Test your aim by long snapping footballs through a variety of obstacles.
· NFL Pro Bowl Trophy – Take a photo with the official NFL Pro Bowl Trophy.
· NFL Shop at Pro Bowl – Shop for your favorite NFL and Pro Bowl gear at the NFL Shop trailer located inside NFL Pro Bowl Experience.
· Obstacle Course: Navigate through obstacle courses and train like an NFL player.
· Panini – The exclusive trading card and sticker partner of the NFL, Panini is the Official Sponsor of the NFL Pro Bowl. Stop by the Panini booth for a chance to win exclusive NFL Pro Bowl trading cards.
· Pepsi Zero Sugar: PepsiCo will be sampling its zero calorie soda in the fan plaza outside of Camping World Stadium on game day.
· Precision Passing presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Pass to as many targets as possible while on the clock.
· Run-A-Route – Test your wide receiver skills and run a see-and-react route to catch a pass down field.
· Vertical Jump: Jump as high as you can and hit the corresponding flag to discover your vertical reach just like at the NFL Scouting Combine.
· Virtual Reality Experience: Get inside the NFL with virtual reality technology and experience what it is like to be on-the-field on an actual NFL game.
AFC and NFC Team Pro Bowl Practices
The AFC and NFC teams will practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from Wednesday, January 24 through Saturday, January 27. All media availabilities will take place on the field at the conclusion of each practice.
Practices are free and open to the public, and entry to the seating areas is available on a first-come, first-served basis. To attend practice, fans must register for Fan Mobile Pass via the Pro Bowl – Fan Mobile Pass app or on NFL.com/PBFanMobilePass. Visit ProBowl.com for more details.
Wednesday, January 24
10:30 AM NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Field 16
10:45 AM AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Field 17
Thursday, January 25
11:30 AM NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Field 16
11:45 AM AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Field 17
Friday, January 26
11:30 AM NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Field 16
11:45 AM AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Field 17
Saturday, January 27
11:30 AM NFC team walk-through at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Field 16
11:45 AM AFC team walk-through at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Field 17
Special Olympics Flag Football Game
For the second year, the NFL and Special Olympics will team in Orlando during Pro Bowl Week to host a Unified Flag Football game with Special Olympics Florida athletes. The NFL and Special Olympics are committed to building inclusive communities and providing opportunities for athletes of all abilities to participate in sports through the expansion of Special Olympics Unified Sports flag football, where individuals with and without intellectual disabilities play flag football together on the same team. The Unified Flag Football game will take place on Wednesday, January 24 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Current Pro Bowl players will serve as coaches and cheer athletes on during the game.
The NFL and Special Olympics kicked off their national partnership last year at Pro Bowl. With, contributions from the NFL Foundation, Special Olympics provided grants to local Special Olympics Programs in eleven NFL team markets. This year, the NFL and Special Olympics will expand those efforts to five new markets that will receive NFL Foundation funding. The grants will be used to help enhance Unified Sports programming and increase participation of athletes, Unified partners, and coaches across the country. NFL teams have and will continue to work with local Special Olympics Programs to help grow and expand opportunities for Special Olympics Unified Flag Football.
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. They empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5.3 million athletes and Unified partners in 169 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org to learn more.
NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum
The NFL will host the Women’s Careers in Football Forum Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Fifty women from around the world were selected from among more than 400 applicants to attend the second annual forum. The Forum will feature panel discussions, breakout sessions, and networking sessions aimed to educate and prepare women for careers in Football Operations, including coaching, officiating, scouting and football front office positions.
Featured speakers and panelists will include NFL Chief Football Administration Officer Dawn Aponte, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, San Francisco 49ers Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Paraag Marathe, Women’s Leaders in College Sports CEO Patti Phillips, Atlanta Falcons Assistant General Manager Scott Pioli, CFL Toronto Argonauts General Manager Jim Popp, NFL Director of Football Development Samantha Rapoport, Stanford University Head Coach David Shaw, and Minnesota Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren.
Twenty-two of the female participants at the inaugural Forum in 2017 went on to secure internships and full-time positions in coaching and scouting at the NFL, collegiate and high school levels, including eight at the professional level.
NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp
On Thursday, Jan. 25th at 10 a.m., the NFL will host a free Character Camp on Field 23 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The event will include 300 predominantly-Hispanic youth from the Orlando area. The non-contact football camp will be led by Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz.
The NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps program is a partnership between the NFL and the Muñoz Agency. The mission of the camps is to make a positive impact on youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing exercise, and reinforcing the importance of character in athletics and life. The camp is part of a series of NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps hosted as part of the NFL’s year-round Hispanic outreach initiative, focused on offering youth opportunities to play and experience the game of football. Since the inception of NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps in 2012, over 60 camps have been held impacting more than 20,000 youth across the country.
NFL PLAY 60 Field Day
On Thursday, Jan. 25 from 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM, the NFL will host a PLAY 60 Field Day with current NFL players, local youth and local students from Fuel Up to Play 60 schools. In addition, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers will host community groups from their regions at the PLAY 60 Field Day, which will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Prior to the PLAY 60 Field Day, local community groups attending the PLAY 60 Field Day will have the opportunity to view Pro Bowl practice.
The event will consist of different physical activity stations ranging from relay races to ‘fuel up’ healthy eating stations and Quarterback Challenge drills.
The NFL is celebrating 10 years of getting kids active and healthy through NFL PLAY 60, the league’s youth health and wellness campaign encouraging kids to get active for 60 minutes a day. For more information, visit NFL.com/PLAY60.
NFL FLAG Youth Media Night
Members of the NFL FLAG Championship teams will experience what it feels like to be in the spotlight like an NFL player at NFL FLAG Youth Media Night on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 6:00 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. At the event, NFL FLAG participants will take part in media interviews with current Pro Bowl players, NFL Legends and members of the media. In addition to being interviewed like the stars, NFL FLAG competitors will enjoy food and entertainment, photo opportunities, walk the Play Football Red Carpet like the NFL’s best, and have an opportunity to mix & mingle before the competition kicks off on Friday, Jan. 26.
NFL FLAG Championships at Pro Bowl Powered By USA Football
The NFL FLAG Championship powered by USA Football are returning to Pro Bowl. The NFL FLAG Championships will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from Friday, Jan. 26 – Saturday, Jan. 27 and are part of the NFL’s weeklong celebration of football at all levels. All teams will kick off the week at NFL FLAG Youth Media Night on Thursday, Jan. 25. Live coverage will occur on ESPN and ABC during NFL Countdown at 1:00 PM ET.
Sixty-six teams from across the country – ten regional champions in four divisions plus 26 teams selected by NFL Clubs – will compete. An additional five international teams from Canada, China and Mexico will participate in the exhibition games. Divisions include: 9-10 coed, 11-12 coed, 13-14 boys and 13-14 girls. NFL Pro Bowl players and Legends will serve as guest coaches, encouraging the teams as they compete for the national title.
The 13-14 Girls Championships will take place on Saturday, Jan. 27 after Pro Bowl practice during Play Football High School Day. ESPN and ABC will simulcast the 13-14 Boys Championship Game on Sunday, Jan. 28 as part of the network’s broadcast of the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.
NFL FLAG powered by USA Football promotes physical fitness and teaches the sport’s values and life skills on and off the field to more than 410,000 young people. A non-contact version of traditional football offered for boys and girls ages 5-17 in cities across the country, NFL FLAG emphasizes fun, safety, teamwork, self-esteem, discipline, and goal-setting. USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States.
The following is a sampling of events planned for service members and their families in Orlando during Pro Bowl Week as part of the NFL’s Salute to Service:
· Following Pro Bowl practice on Saturday, Jan. 27 the NFL and Wounded Warrior Project will host a flag football game for 50 wounded warriors from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Following the game, warriors will join 100 individuals from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) for a special Military Appreciation Luncheon from 1:00 – 2:00 PM. NFL Legends, cheerleaders, and mascots will be in attendance to meet and greet TAPS families and wounded warriors and their families as they enjoy a complimentary meal.
· The NFL will host members of TAPS and Wounded Warrior Project at Pro Bowl practices throughout the week at ESPN Wide World of Sports and on game day.
· Family members from TAPS will enjoy complimentary admittance to Disney’s theme park.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 70,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information, visit www.taps.org.
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects warriors with one another, their families, and communities. It serves warriors through lifesaving programs and services targeting mental and physical health, career and benefits counseling, and support for the most severely wounded. And WWP empowers warriors to mentor other veterans and live life on their terms. To learn more, visit: www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
PRO BOWL SKILLS SHOWDOWN
For the second consecutive year, players from the AFC and NFC will compete against each other in unique competitions at the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, which will air on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN. The event will also re-air across ESPN and ABC, as well as NFL Network.
The 2018 Pro Bowl Legends Captains, Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson of the AFC and Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn of the NFC, will lead their respective squads. Each Skills Showdown team will feature a mix of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linemen, linebackers, defensive backs and kickers.
Taking place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the competition will include:
· Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball presented by Pepsi: Pro Bowlers will compete in a game of dodgeball, with every member of each team participating. The team with the last person on the court wins.
· Kick-Tac-Toe: A new challenge that tests the accuracy of placekickers from both conferences with a version of the classic game, as they attempt to hit a 3×3 grid of targets inside the uprights.
· Gridiron Gauntlet: Five players from each team will participate in a relay race designed to showcase strength, speed, and agility. Among other surprises, the challenge will include a 40-yard dash with an inflated parachute that is attached to the first player on each team who will sprint before tagging in teammates.
· Best Hands presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Four receivers – two from each conference – will catch a series of passes at a sequence of downfield targets as quickly as possible. Designated targets require a specific style of catch – diving, one-handed, over the shoulder, etc. – which must be executed before the receiver can move on to the next target.
· Precision Passing presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Each conference’s quarterbacks will battle it out in an accuracy competition, as they attempt to hit targets of varying size and distance.
· Drone Drop Challenge: A bonus event during which one player from each team will attempt to catch footballs dropped from drones from increasing heights above the field. The player who makes the highest catch wins money for the charity of his choice.
Fans are encouraged to join the conversation surrounding the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown on social media using the hashtag #ProBowl.
A limited number of free tickets to the Skills Showdown taping will be made available to fans. Fan may register for tickets here.
EA SPORTS: The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship
From Thursday, Jan. 25 to Saturday, Jan. 27, EA SPORTS will host The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL. The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship, the third EA Major Series event of the $1 million Madden NFL 18 Championship Series, will bring together the top 32 players from across the country representing each NFL club to compete during Pro Bowl Week. These elite competitive players advanced through a grueling online elimination process featuring millions of Madden players in pursuit of the Club Championship title and their share of over $400,000.
The competitions will take place:
· Thursday, Jan. 25: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM ET
· Friday, Jan. 26: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM ET
· Saturday, Jan. 27: 2:00 PM – 12:00 AM ET
PRO BOWL FUN RUN SERIES
Grab the family and your favorite team jersey for the 2018 Pro Bowl Fun Run Series located at the Track & Field Complex at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex beginning at 1:00 PM ET on Saturday, Jan. 27. From Kids Dashes to a Half Mile Run, there is a distance for football fans of any age. Participants can look forward to appearances from Disney characters, Pro Bowl cheerleaders and mascots and a one-of-a-kind finisher medal! Click HERE to register.
Race packet pick-up begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, Jan. 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports.