The Pro Bowl is coming to Arizona — for one year, at least.
The University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of Super Bowl XLIX a week later, will host the annual NFL All-Star game on Sunday, January 25, 2015.
The Pro Bowl will take a one-year break from its usual host, Aloha Stadium in Hawaii.
Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill talked on The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM about the opportunity to host both the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl in 2015.
“I think it will be huge,” Bidwill said. “The Super Bowl is going to be so much bigger in 2015 than it was in 2008 with all the new events that have been created since Super Bowl XLII. Now being able to stack on a week before the Pro Bowl, I think it’s going to be fantastic.
“You remember back in 2008 how electric the town was and how much fun it was to host the game and all the different activities. This is going to be great for Arizona, the tourism industry and for football fans because we are going to get a chance to see two great games back-to-back.”
The 2015 Pro Bowl will mark the third time the game is played in the same city as the Super Bowl. It’s happened before in Los Angeles in 1967 and in South Florida in 2010.
“Two years ago is when I started talking to Commissioner Goodell about the idea of bringing the game to Arizona a week before the Super Bowl,” Bidwill said. “We were looking for ideas and there were a lot of new ideas that were introduced this year that the fans and players were really excited about, and they played a much better game.
“A couple of the key things, one is there is no longer a conference arrangement, so no more AFC vs. NFC. Then we brought in some really great alumni Pro Bowl players to be captains and let them select and they had a draft. I think those types of things make it more interesting, fan-friendly and exciting.”
Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice drafted the Pro Bowl rosters from a pool of selected players in last season’s game, won by Team Rice 22-21.
Holding the Pro Bowl in Glendale will extend the football focus on the Valley and give fans more time to enjoy all the festivities in downtown Phoenix.
“The Super Bowl Host Committee and all of us are investing so much in the Super Bowl, and it allows us to spread all those events out over two weekends,” Bidwill said.
“I think you are going to see Super Bowl Central in downtown Phoenix go for two weekends rather than just one. I think you are going to see more excitement and activity. Just the idea that we are going to be able to go in a week before the Super Bowl and watch a game in the stadium in which the Super Bowl is going to be played, is going to be really exciting for fans.”