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The Pro Bowl

It has been played at Aloha Stadium since 1980 and this year is no exception. On Saturday February 10th at 1 p.m. Hawaii time, (6 p.m. Eastern time), a match between the NFLís finest players promises to deliver a riveting game.

Officially called the AFC-NCF Pro Bowl, it is the NFL all-star game; the game to end the season; the celebration and grand finale. If you are lucky enough to be going, letís hope you consider yourself just that. To be watching the greatest in the sport play under blue skies and balmy weather, and when you are done, to hang out drinking mai tais somewhere breezy and planning your next dayís surf safari is beyond most peopleís realm of possibilities.

Here is a little history about the game that Iíll bet a lot of guys donít even know, (or that you girls can impress your guys with during the game):

-The Pro Bowl was first played on January 15th, 1939 between the reigning champs of the year, (the NY Giants), and an assortment of all-stars from the rest of the league. It was played at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles and the Giants proved their worthiness by winning yet another title.
-The years 1940-1942 saw 2 games in each year. The first was in January and was played against the previous yearís champions, and the second was in December and was played against the new champions.
-(The NFL championship game was held in December until 1965 when it was played for 2 years in January. The Superbowl began in 1967 and was played in December for 2 years, and in January from 1969 until recently. Since 2002, the Superbowl has been played in February. The growth of the league has led to the growth of the season.)
-The Pro Bowl was discontinued from 1943 until 1950. It started up again in 1951 and until 1953 was made up of players from the AFC and the NFC.
-From 1954 until 1970 the teams represented the NFLís Eastern and Western Conferences.
-In 1970, the American Football League merged with the NFL. Since then, the Pro Bowl has been played by all star teams from the AFC and the NFC.
- The 1st MVP award was presented to Otto Graham, the Brownsí quarterback, in 1951.
-2 awards were handed out each year from 1957-1972, one for back and one for lineman.
-In 1972, awards went to the best offensive and defensive players.
-Since 1973, only 1 award, the MVP award, has been presented at the Pro Bowl.
-Some famous MVP recipients have been Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Joe Theismann, Jerry Rice and Peyton Manning.

The venue used to change year to year, but in 1980, the Pro Bowl found a home in Honolulu.

It is a great honor to be playing in the Pro Bowl. The players are chosen by their coaches, their fellow players and their fans, (the fans got the vote in 1995). Not only is it a testament to your playing to be chosen by your peers, it surely helps your worth when it comes to the following yearís contract!

If you donít have your tickets for this yearís game, plan early for the coming year. And if you donít live on the island, book ahead. Hotels book up early! LadiesÖif you need a way to get your husband to take you to Hawaii, the Pro Bowl is it! If you are not a fan, set him up and be on your way to enjoy a great vacation day, while he relishes a great day of the finest display of football anywhere. Not only is the pressure of a championship over, but also the threat of serious injury hurting your game during the regular season is non-existent. Basically, itís lots of fun and anything goes! You should really skip a day at the beach and join him.

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