All-Star Game Returns To Orlando

The National Football League’s 2018 Pro Bowl game is hardly a showcase of its best talent.

Sure, some of the top players join in on the festivities, but others are injured or just take a pass. Missing from the event are such stars as Julio Jones, A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins and Travis Kelce, who was named offensive MVP of the game last year. Some of the franchise players not in the lineup on defense include Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald.

Add to the mix the 10 New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles who have something more important to prepare for, and the NFL’s all-star game will be far from the best of the best.

The NFC stars, who lost last year’s all-star edition 20-13, are three-point favorites in Sunday’s showdown at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. (odds provided by It’s the second consecutive year the Pro Bowl will take place in Florida after being held in Hawaii for the majority of its history.


The NFL will honor the hometown Central Florida Knights after the first quarter of the game. The Knights defeated the Auburn Tigers in the Peach Bowl to cap off a perfect college football season at 13-0.

It’s also the second straight year the all-star matchup will follow the AFC versus NFC format. The NFL, which has seen viewership for the Pro Bowl decline steadily in recent years, experimented with conference-less teams in 2015 and 2016.

Pro Bowl trivia

  • Nick Foles was the 2014 MVP award on offense. The Eagles’ QB went 7-for-10 for 89 yards and a touchdown.
  • The two conferences combined to score a record 107 points in the 2004 edition, with the NFC winning 55-52.
  • Since the year 2000, the AFC holds an 8-7 edge in victories. The widest margin of victory in those games was 27 points in 2013 when the NFC won 62-35.
  • The NFC has the longest winning streak at four (1978-81). The AFC has won three in a row twice (1997-99, 2001-03).

Both the AFC and NFC will have two “legend” captains, one for both sides of the ball. The AFC captains will be LaDanian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor, while Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks will lead the NFC.

The rosters are determined by voting from fans, players and coaches, with each type of voting counting for one-third of the final rosters.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had the most players selected for the game at eight, which include their three offensive stars in Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The Eagles and New Orleans Saints had six each.

The Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears were the only teams not to have a representative named to the all-stars.

Roethlisberger, Derek Carr and Alex Smith will be under center for the AFC, which will be coached by Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin. Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Jared Goff will quarterback the NFC, with New Orlean’s Sean Payton calling the shots.

This game is expected to be an offensive-minded show. There’s a few alterations to the rules to help players avoid injury and, it seems, defense.

This game has been decided by three points or less only three times since 2000. But all that matters with this event is ratings, so the NFL will likely encourage its stars to put on an electric show.

VGB’s pickNFC (-3), Over (70)