The NFL’s plans to move the Pro Bowl to the mainland this season will include what’s expected to be a large autograph session.
Tickets to the first Pro Bowl game on the mainland in 30 years went on sale at midnight and the move may be a boost for NFL autograph collectors.
The 2010 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 31, 2010 and televised live on ESPN at 7:30 PM ET from Dolphin Stadium in South Florida, also the site of Super Bowl XLIV a week later on Sunday, February 7.
The Pro Bowl’s move to the week before the Super Bowl is a switch from years past, when its slot after the season caused a collective yawn among many fans and even players who sometimes turned down the offer to play.
Prior to the game, ticketholders will be able to check out the new free NFL Gameday Fan Plaza, the NFL’s festival area at Dolphin Stadium that also will be open on Super Bowl Sunday. NFL Gameday Fan Plaza will feature musical acts, player appearances and autograph opportunities, a large assortment of NFL merchandise, and refreshments.
The Pro Bowl had been played annually since 1980 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii the week following the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl will return to Hawaii for the 2011 and 2012 games.
The 2010 Pro Bowl will be the first played prior to the Super Bowl and only the second Pro Bowl played in the same city as the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Coliseum hosted the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967 and the Pro Bowl the following week.
The AFC and NFC squads are each comprised of 42 players with 21 offensive and 17 defensive players plus four specialists. A 43rd "need" player will be chosen by the head coach and must be a cornerback, defensive end, linebacker or long snapper. The coaching staffs of the losing teams in the AFC and NFC Divisional playoffs with the best regular season record will serve as the coaching staffs of the AFC and NFC teams.
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