There’s no football that counts this Sunday ahead of Super Bowl 56 on Feb. 13 but the AFC/NFC Pro Bowl will be played Sunday from Las Vegas and shown on ESPN and ABC. The kickoff is at 3 p.m. ET and the NFL odds are TBA
Pro Bowl 2022 Odds Analysis
The coach for the AFC is Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans and his entire staff will be there as well. The Titans were the highest-remaining seed in the AFC to lose in the Divisional Round so that’s why Vrabel got the call. The last time a Titans coaching staff was in charge of a Pro Bowl squad was back in 2003, when former head coach Jeff Fisher led the way for the AFC. Vrabel might win NFL Coach of the Year for the regular season. A handful of Titans players will be in the game but not star running back Derrick Henry.
The NFC will be coached by Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur. It’s the first time Green Bay’s coaching staff will work the Pro Bowl since 2016. LaFleur was Vrabel’s offensive coordinator in 2018. The Packers had three Pro Bowlers this season, but Kenny Clark and Davante Adams have already been replaced and Aaron Rodgers is not expected to play. Rodgers was voted as the NFC starter at quarterback.
A lot of players are going to skip the game and of course no players from the two Super Bowl teams are in it. Eight NFL teams were set to send at least five players to Las Vegas, led by the Indianapolis Colts with seven: running back Jonathan Taylor, defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, center Ryan Kelly, linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Kenny Moore II, guard Quenton Nelson and long snapper Luke Rhodes.
The Kansas City Chiefs (six), Los Angeles Chargers (six), Baltimore Ravens (five), Cleveland Browns (five), Dallas Cowboys (five), San Francisco 49ers (five) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (five) were the other teams to have at least five Pro Bowlers. Bucs QB Tom Brady set an NFL record with his 15th Pro Bowl selection but he’s not playing. There were reports over the weekend that Brady has decided to retire but nothing official yet.
Brady, who turns 45 on Aug. 3, has already outlasted every player from his own draft class in 2000, when the Patriots selected him 199th overall in Bill Belichick’s first season. He’s also outlasted every player drafted in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Brady led the league in both passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43) in 2021, the second time in his career he’s led the NFL in both categories in the same season (2007).
Brady’s long-term replacement in New England, rookie QB Mac Jones, has been named to the game. Jones threw 22 touchdowns to 13 interceptions while completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,801 passing yards. Jones was named to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie team last week. He joins Devin McCourty, Curtis Martin, John Stephens and Michael Haynes as Patriots to earn the Pro Bowl honor in their first seasons.
Buffalo star quarterback Josh Allen is among those who have chosen not to play. Allen was named a Pro Bowl reserve following the 2020 season, though the game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allen was merely voted an alternate. He completed 63% of passes in the regular season, throwing for 4,407 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. He rushed for a career-high 763 yards and a single-season low of six touchdowns.
“Unfortunately, I will be declining the invitation to play in the Pro Bowl this year — in order to allow my body to rest and recover from the harshness of the season,” Allen said. “The type of quarterback [that] I am, I obtain a lot of bumps and bruises along the road of a season, so I will use this time to let my body heal.”
The Chargers’ Justin Herbert was named the AFC’s starting QB and will play. Herbert is both the first Charger quarterback as well as the first former Oregon offensive skill position player to be named a starter in the game since Dan Fouts earned the honor back in 1983.