2018 PRO BOWL IN ORLANDO TO FEATURE WEEK-LONG
CELEBRATION OF FOOTBALL
For First Time, Kids 14 and Under to Receive Postgame Field Access
Game Tickets on Sale at ProBowl.com
ORLANDO, FLORIDA [January 16, 2018] – When the 2018 NFL PRO BOWL returns to Orlando’s Camping World Stadium, 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 free 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. On Pro Bowl Sunday, participants can check in at a Pro Bowl Kids Stadium Takeover check-in table located on either the field level near section 145 or on the plaza level near section 149. More information is available at ProBowl.com.
Additional Pro Bowl Week activities will include the NFL FLAG CHAMPIONSHIPS; PLAY FOOTBALL HIGH SCHOOL DAY; PRO BOWL SKILLS SHOWDOWN; free access to AFC & NFC TEAM PRACTICES; NFL PRO BOWL EXPERIENCE, a free, football-themed fan festival; and NFL PLAY 60 events. The NFL will also work with the You Can Play Project on an event for NFL Legends, local LGBT youth and allies, and with Raliance and Break the Cycle on a summit for local young leaders, with the goal of empowering and equipping youth with strategies to combat gender-based violence.
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, JANUARY 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 gameday. 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.
PRO BOWL WEEK KICKOFF AND COMMUNITY GRANT EVENT
On Tuesday, January 23, the NFL will join the City of Orlando and LIFT Orlando at Orange Center Elementary School (621 S Texas Ave), to kick off Pro Bowl Week festivities and host a tree planting project as part of an Orlando-based neighborhood revitalization project.
Among those who will take part in the event are Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan, NFL Senior Vice President of Events Peter O’Reilly, Pro Bowl Legends Captains Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson and local high school football teams from Maynard Evans High School and Jones High School.
The NFL seeks to improve the surrounding communities and leave a positive legacy in the host city beyond the Pro Bowl game. The tree planting project alongside Orange Center Elementary School is one of three NFL Environmental Program events planned, as part of efforts to replenish the Orlando community’s environment.
The event will kick off at 11:00 AM ET with brief remarks from attendees and a media availability with the Pro Bowl Legends Captains. Following the press event, at approximately 11:30 AM ET, participants will plant trees alongside community residents and NFL volunteers.
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, January 26, high school coaches will enjoy a special welcome reception, and on Saturday, January 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports, 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 the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium before kickoff and be recognized on-field alongside their Pro Bowl player.
NFL FOUNDATION PRO BOWL GIVEBACK
This year, Pro Bowl players will compete for more than bragging rights – players on 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. The Pro Bowl Giveback Program ensures the NFL and its players will leave a lasting legacy on the youth and high school football community and increase opportunities for the next generation of football players.
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 at Walt Disney World.
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 gameday 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 gameday.
- 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.
For more information, contact Kamran Mumtaz, NFL, Kamran.Mumtaz@NFL.com.
AFC & NFC TEAM PRO BOWL PRACTICES
The AFC and NFC teams will practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports 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 ET NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 16
10:45 AM ET AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 17
Thursday, January 25
11:30 AM ET NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 16
11:45 AM ET AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 17
Friday, January 26
11:30 AM ET NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 16
11:45 AM ET AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 17
Saturday, January 27
11:30 AM ET NFC team walk-through at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 16
11:45 AM ET AFC team walk-through at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 17
SPECIAL OLYMPICS UNIFIED FLAG FOOTBALL GAME
For the second year, the NFL will team up with Special Olympics 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 on Field 21 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 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 at the 2017 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 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. We 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 million athletes and Unified partners in more than 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Microsoft, Lions Clubs International, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, and Safilo Group. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium.
NFL WOMEN’S CAREERS IN FOOTBALL FORUM
The NFL will host the Women’s Careers in Football Forum Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Fifty women were selected from among more than 400 applicants to attend the second annual forum. The event 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 Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner Randy Ambrosie, NFL Chief Football Administration Officer Dawn Aponte, Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), San Francisco 49ers Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Paraag Marathe, Women’s Leaders in College Sports Chief Executive Officer 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 professional, collegiate and high school levels, including nine with the NFL.
NFL PLAY 60 CHARACTER CAMP
On Thursday, January 25 at 10:00 AM ET, the NFL will host a free Character Camp on Field 23 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 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, January 25 from 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM ET, the NFL will host a PLAY 60 Field Day with current NFL players, local youth and students from local schools enrolled in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. 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 on Field 21 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 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 as an NFL player at NFL FLAG Youth Media Night on Thursday, January 25 at 6:00 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 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 and mingle before the competition kicks off on Friday, January 26.
NFL & USA FOOTBALL AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
The NFL/USA Football High School Ambassador Program Coaching Initiative offers former NFL players interested in understanding the Youth Football landscape and currently coaching or interested in coaching youth football, an opportunity to network and participate in in-person Heads Up Football training sessions.
Former NFL players who are a part of the year-round program, which is a Play Football initiative, will participate in weekend long Pro Bowl activities. Activities include: interviewing NFL FLAG competitors during NFL FLAG Youth Media Night; a day-long seminar led by the NFL and USA Football; viewing
Pro Bowl practice and various Play Football High School Day activities; and attending the USA Football National Conference.
USA FOOTBALL NATIONAL CONFERENCE
The fifth annual USA Football National Conference, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 attendees, is the largest annual gathering of high school and youth football administrators and coaches in the United States.
Speakers addressing National Conference attendees include Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, former Pro Bowl quarterback and Super Bowl XXXV Champion Trent Dilfer, Villanova University Director of Athletics Mark Jackson, National High School Hall of Fame coach Chuck Kyle of Cleveland St. Ignatius H.S., four-time state champion head coach Jason Mohns of Scottsdale Saguaro H.S., University of Arkansas head coach Chad Morris, and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker and Super Bowl XX Champion Mike Singletary.
National Conference speakers will address a range of topics, including coach education, player safety, program development and key trends. This year’s conference will take place from Friday, January 26 to Sunday, January 28 at the Orange County Convention Center.
USA Football National Conference Schedule:
- Friday, January 26: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET
- Saturday, January 27: 9:00 AM – 8:30 PM ET
- Sunday, January 28: 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM ET
NFL FLAG CHAMPIONSHIPS AT PRO BOWL POWERED BY USA FOOTBALL
The NFL FLAG Championships powered by USA Football are returning to Pro Bowl. The NFL FLAG Championships will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports from Friday, January 26 – Saturday, January 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, January 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, January 27 after Pro Bowl practice during Play Football High School Day. ESPN and ABC will simulcast the 13-14 Boys Championship Game on Sunday, January 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.
YOU CAN PLAY PROJECT: HI-FIVE INITIATIVE
On the morning of Saturday, January 27, the NFL will team with the You Can Play Project to host Orlando-area LGBT youth from local organizations, including the Hope Community Center, Our Fund and the Zebra Coalition, for a special event at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Students will attend Pro Bowl practice and then sit down with current NFL players and NFL Legends for a conversation on LGBT rights and inclusion in sports. The session will be facilitated by former NFL player and You Can Play Project Executive Director, Wade Davis. Additionally, youth participating in the event will attend the Pro Bowl on Sunday, January 28 at Camping World Stadium.
The You Can Play Project is an advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and gender identify. The organization’s Hi-Five initiative aims to create meaningful connections between LGBT youth and leaders within the professional sports community. The NFL was the first professional sports league to join the initiative when it launched in 2013.
PLAY FOOTBALL HIGH SCHOOL DAY
On Saturday, January 27, during Play Football High School Day, the best will meet the next! The NFL will host approximately 200 local high school football players and celebrate both male and female football participants as well as coaches. These student-athletes will participate in numerous exclusive, invite-only activities throughout the day.
The day kicks off with an opportunity to learn and polish their skills during the High School Skills Challenge which will be led by the high school coaches of current Pro Bowl players in attendance as part of the NFL’s “Thank You, Coach!” initiative. After viewing Pro Bowl practice, the student-athletes will attend a character development session led by an NFL Legend and will have a chance to explore the Pro Bowl Experience.
Additionally, during High School Football Day, the spotlight will not only be placed on tackle football participants but the flag athletes will have an opportunity to compete with an emphasis on Girls Flag with the NFL Girls 13-14 FLAG Championships and a Florida High School Girls Varsity game occurring simultaneously after Pro Bowl practice.
DON SHULA NFL HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award honors an exemplary football coach at the high school level who displays the integrity, achievement, and leadership demonstrated by Coach Shula. Coaches are nominated for the national award by all 32 NFL teams, and the winner is selected by a panel of judges including Peyton Manning, Willie McGinest, Condoleezza Rice and Michael Strahan.
The Don Shula Award winner will be announced during Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, January 28 at 3:00 PM ET, and will be covered on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ABC. Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to their high
school’s football program. The 2017 winner will receive an additional $10,000 from the NFL Foundation, $5,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program, and attend the Super Bowl.
All NFL club-selected Don Shula Award nominees will be invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL’s week-long celebration of football in Orlando. The coaches will participate in a special coaches’ clinic, enjoy a VIP visit to Pro Bowl practices and attend the USA Football National Conference.
To learn more about this year’s nominees, click here.
Through the assistance of the NFL, Make-A-Wish will grant the wishes of five children to attend the 2018 Pro Bowl. Wish children and their families will attend a Pro Bowl practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports and will attend the game at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 28. Every year since 1982, the NFL and Make-A-Wish have teamed to grant one or more wish kids to attend either the Super Bowl or Pro Bowl.
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 33,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 34 minutes. It has granted more than 285,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 15,300 in 2016 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org to learn more.
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 ET on Field 21 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 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 PM – 2:00 PM ET. 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 gameday.
- 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