The Pro Bowl and a Little History

The Pro Bowl and a Little History
by Tim Brulia

Today is a breather from all of the Super Bowl hype-nonsense that will build up into a hyperventilating frenzy that will culminate next Sunday evening when an NFL legend hands the Vince Lombardi Trophy to NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell to then hand to the owner of the winning team so that CBS' Jim Nantz can interview him/her.

Today is Pro Bowl day.

The Pro Bowl, never really a huge deal, lately has been abused and criticized by the commissioner, players, the media, fans and probably your own mother.  The NFL - at least - in the USA, is perhaps a near perfect sport, lauded and loved by almost everyone.  Its black sheep, if there is one, is this game.  The Pro Bowl is in essence, the NFL's All-Star Game.  But, there must be enough interest to have it played yet again today (according to ACNielsen, it had more viewers of its all-star game in 2012 than any other sport's "ASG.").

Our job here at the Gridiron Uniform Database (GUD) is not give our two cents on the pros (no pun intended) and cons of the Pro Bowl, but simply to provide and share the uniform history of this game.  And that we shall do.

Back in early September, the GUD launched a visual detailed history of the Pro Bowl, the entire history of the Pro Bowl, including the pre-merger Pro Bowl, the AFL All-Star Game, not to mention the lone AAFC All-Star Game, known as the Shamrock Bowl.  We accompanied that launch with a blog article detailing the evolution of the Pro Bowl's uniforms.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In a nutshell, the Pro Bowl's uniform history is that the PB started out with very simple and plain designs, with one team (normally the West All-Stars) clad in white and the other side (usually the East All-Stars) rocking red jerseys.  Effective with the merger season of 1970, the uniforms received an overhaul, but the teams retained a basic look that was more or less unchanged through the 1993 season, with the AFC clad in white jerseys and red pants, while the NFC sported blue jerseys and white pants.  Then from the 1994 season game right up through last season's clash, a bodacious explosion of out of the box designs of patterns, fonts, sublimation logos, and patches, patches, patches wreaked havoc on the PB uni template, sending traditionalist-types hyperventilating and running for cover.

If the "sneak peeks" of today's game's uniforms are indeed accurate, we will likely see the most conservative design features for the Pro Bowl in nearly 20 years.  Only two patches will adorn the jersey, one for the player's team logo and one for the Pro Bowl logo.  The word - in smallish lettering - "AMERICAN" or "NATIONAL" above the front jersey number, and a rather plain name on back (NOB) above the player's number on the back.  The numbers will be in a straight block font  The jerseys will be plain, with no sublimation, "bibs", or other creative "out there" patterns.  The pants will be the only place where the uni pays some homage to the 1994-2012 era.  There will be a single thickish stripe on the side that will wraparound the leg edge to the rear, creating what some might call a "toilet seat" effect.  The socks will be either a solid red (AFC) or a solid blue (NFC)..  Uniform purists should rejoice at this year's look.    

Whatever the case, we at GUD hope that the game will be well played and with a bit - just a bit, mind you - of intensity.  We encourage you to review the Pro Bowl yearly history of uniforms as so ably portrayed by the GUD graphic engineer, Bill Schaefer.

Then tomorrow, get yourself ready for the Super Bowl.  You'll have no choice!!


  1. I suppose I might be a "Uniform Purist" then. I love the newer uniforms, other than my dislike of red pants.
    Love the site, by the way.

  2. My Name is Jay O'Brien, I write for The NFL Report, or I was wondering how you were able to make a background behind your main heading at the top. My blog, as you can tell by the name, is also through blogspot. Email me at



Blog Archive