NFL announces Pro Bowl headed to Orlando in January
NFL fans in the Tampa area will have an all-star game close to home in January, as the NFL announced Wednesday that this season's Pro Bowl is moving from Hawaii to Orlando and the former Citrus Bowl, now Camping World Stadium.
"We are excited to re-imagine the Pro Bowl experience for both fans and players and to celebrate the game of football at all levels," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Collaborating with Disney and ESPN brings us closer to the best in youth and family-focused entertainment. We look forward to working with the city of Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports to create a week-long celebration for football and our fans."
The game will be played Jan. 29 -- a week before the Super Bowl -- and will return to its NFC vs. AFC format, with both teams practicing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where the Bucs once held their preseason training camp. The week will showcase many youth football competitions as well, and Pro Bowl players can invite former youth or high school coaches to be part of the Pro Bowl events.
The NFL announced that a Dolphins-Falcons preseason game, originally scheduled to be played in Miami, will now be played Aug. 25 in Orlando as well.
Will NFL players see the same excitement about a trip to central Florida as they once did for Hawaii? We asked Bucs linebacker Lavonte David about the potential move in April: "It'll be cool, but I like Hawaii," said David, a first-time Pro Bowler this past season.