“Side letter” between NFL, NFLPA makes participation in Pro Bowl replacement mandatory

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As negotiated in 2020, the Collective Bargaining Agreement gives the NFL to dump the Pro Bowl for a replacement activity. It also makes the replacement activity voluntary for players.

That has changed.

PFT has obtained a copy of the September 22, 2022 “side letter” between the NFL and the NFL Players Association regarding the elimination of the Pro Bowl.

The letter agreement, which applies to 2022 only, flips player participation from voluntary to mandatory.

“Players selected will be required to participate in the event,” the letter explains. “Players who have a medical issue, however, may be excused from participation.”

That’s what has happened in the past. Players with injuries (or “injuries”) tap out of the Pro Bowl. Questions are rarely asked when a player, who had an injury that didn’t keep him from playing in a game that counts, has an injury that keeps him from playing in the Pro Bowl.

Will the league be less forgiving when it comes to tapping out of a flag football game? We’ll see.

The flag football game won’t be played by offensive and defensive linemen. They will engage in some other “skill-related activity” on game day.

The money remains the same as it would have been, if the Pro Bowl had been played. The members of the winning team get $84,000 each, and the members of the losing team get $42,000 each.

It’s unclear how winners and losers will be determined. Per the letter, “All scores from the Skills Competitions and Events and the Game Day Events will be compiled to determine a winning team.” That’s easier said than done, given that the flag football game will have one type of score. Other events will have other types of scores. How will they make a definitive apples-to-apples comparison for the purposes of figuring out the winner?

To qualify for a paycheck for Pro Bowl week, each player must participate in: (1) a game-day event; (2) at least one skills competition or event during the week, including any practices or rehearsals; (3) media availability; and a community activity not to exceed two hours.

It’s unclear what the NFLPA got in exchange for agreeing to make player participation mandatory, other than the continuation of the event. Ultimately, it provides $5.544 million for the players who attend and participate. It also generates ticket and TV money that funds the salary cap.

3 responses to ““Side letter” between NFL, NFLPA makes participation in Pro Bowl replacement mandatory

  1. Makes sense.

    They’re trying to get flag football into the 2028 Olympics. Like basketball, more international exposure means greater pool of players to choose from.

  2. The NFLPA continues to find new & creative ways to sell their players up the river.
    I don’t know what any penalty would be for players to completely stay away and boycott any so-called Pro Bowl activities.
    Don’t know why they should be obligated to do anything once their playing schedule is completed.

  3. I’m thinking a typing contest like we did in HS back in the. 70s would be pretty cool!

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