NFL Pro Bowl, Back on ESPN, To Kick Off Super Bowl Week in Arizona
After a brief hiatus, the NFL Pro Bowl returns to ESPN this Sunday. The annual showcase of the league’s best — a staple of ESPN/ABC’s NFL coverage dating to the mid 1970s — will remain on the network through 2022, thanks to an eight-year rights agreement between ESPN and the NFL.
And ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew is thrilled to have this warm-weather contest back in its repertoire.
“The Pro Bowl showcases many of the league’s top players in a fun setting that’s much more relaxed than a typical NFL game,” says ESPN Monday Night Football producer Jay Rothman. “ESPN has a long history of televising the Pro Bowl, and we have a number of elements that we will use to enhance our production and make it an entertaining watch for fans. We look forward to having the game each year now as part of ESPN’s year-round NFL coverage.”
ESPN will deploy 17 cameras — including aerial coverage via Spidercam — to cover the game, as well as the NEP EN1 fleet, which handles the network’s Monday Night Football slate. A number of production enhancements are planned for the game: player microphones, in-game audio from coaches and coach-quarterback communication, live talkbacks with alumni team captains Cris Carter and Michael Irvin, next-gen NFL stats applications, locker-room access, and much more.
Following a format introduced last year, Carter and Irvin drafted their teams on Wednesday, and the staffs of the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys will coach the respective teams on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football announce team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and reporter Lisa Salters will call the 2015 Pro Bowl at 8 p.m. ET, kicking off Super Bowl Week, which culminates in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday Feb. 1. The telecast will also be available via WatchESPN and in Spanish on both ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio.
Chris Berman will host a special two-hour Postseason NFL Countdown Presented by Snickers (6 p.m., ESPN) from the stadium. He will be joined by analysts Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, and Ray Lewis, with NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen providing headlines and league news.
ESPN will also offer a one-hour Countdown from its Bristol, CT, studios at noon, hosted by Wendi Nix with analysts Brian Dawkins and Jeff Saturday and previewing both the Pro Bowl and the Seattle Seahawks–New England Patriots matchup in Super Bowl XLIX.
ESPN last televised the Pro Bowl in 2010. The game aired on ESPN from 1988 to ’94 and 2004 to ’06 and on ABC from 1975 to ’87 and 1995 to 2003.