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Experiencing the NFL Pro Bowl as a Falcons fan in Orlando

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Greetings Falcoholics! Because the Pro Bowl has been in Orlando, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the “All-star” event. Sure, the players don’t tackle, and a lot of the top players (like Julio Jones) don’t actually participate, but it’s still a good time.

Pro Bowl Week

Pro Bowl Week kicks off at the nearby ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort where most of the festivities are held. They hold Pep Rallies, Play Football events, Pro Bowl Experiences, and of course the Pro Bowl Practices for the AFC and NFC. Honestly, this is where you have the most fun. Players are goofing off the entire time, and you get pretty close to them during the practices. They’ll walk over and sign for the fans and take pictures.

The “Pro Bowl Experience” is held next to the practice, which has an interactive fan zone with fun activities for the whole family. Fans can do everything from run the 40-yard dash to meet up with some NFL mascots, such as Sourdough Sam of the San Francisco 49ers. They also have the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown where players showcase their athletic abilities in events such as dodgeball.

ESPN’s NFL Live usually does a live broadcast at nearby Disney Springs, where my dad, his cousin, and I got to meet Herm Edwards after taping. I even got to appear on that episode. This was at the 2017 Pro Bowl and they handed out signs to hold for the NFL MVP candidates, so of course I held up a Matt Ryan one.

Tailgating

Like at every NFL game, tailgating is a must do. The difference at the Pro Bowl is you have fans of all 32 NFL teams being represented, so you’ll see Packers and Vikings fans hanging out, Colts and Texans fans enjoying a beer, etc.

The Game

I must say, the Pro Bowl is something that must be experienced in-person. As you witness on television, the players barely tackle, the quarterbacks seem to have minutes when they snap the ball, it’s borderline pathetic effort. In person though, none of that matters. You easily get caught up in the moment of realizing the NFL talent before you, even if they aren’t really trying. During commercial breaks you’ll see mascot dance-offs and Odell Beckham Jr. dancing. In all seriousness, it’s a great time and I would definitely recommend attending the event, if given the opportunity.

I’m not sure what the future holds for the Pro Bowl. I know in the eyes of many, it’s a waste of time and laughable at best, even if Austin Hooper scores in the rain. But it’s something I’ve always enjoyed watching growing up as an Atlanta Falcons fan. I always looked forward to watching my players out there interacting with guys from other teams. Also seeing Falcons’ players such as center Alex Mack getting the recognition they deserve, makes it all worth it in my eyes. Maybe they’ll keep it, maybe they won’t, but it’s NFL football players on a field, so I’m going to watch it.

Well folks, that basically sums up my experiences attending the Pro Bowl. As always, you can find me on Twitter @EvanBirchfield, and make sure to follow our Instagram account @The_Falcoholic. Thanks for reading, and remember, the Saints blew a 13-0 lead in the NFC Championship.