Each year many players across the league are selected to be All-Pros and Pro Bowlers. But many fans don’t have a great understanding of these honours and how they differ from one another.
That’s why this article is on hand to break down the difference between Pro Bowl vs All Pro.
Being voted as an All Pro is one of the greatest accomplishments an NFL player can have.
Each year members of the media select an All Pro first team and an All Pro Second team. The media sources that are responsible for selecting All Pros are the Associated Press, Pro Football Writers of America, and The Sporting News.
Each of these outlets will publish its own first and second all pro team. Any player included on any of these teams is considered an All Pro. That being said the distinction is usually made whether the player is a first or second-team All pro.
When a player is voted an All Pro it is simply an honour they will receive. There is no official ceremony or game that marks a player’s spot on an All Pro team.
There is also no monetary reward for being an All Pro though some players have included bonuses in their contract if they happen to be voted onto the team.
The Pro Bowl is similar to an All Star game in which the best players from around the league come together to play in a game. This game pits the AFC versus the NFC with the best players from each conference facing off.
The Pro Bowl takes place the week before the Superbowl. This means none of the players that are participating in the Superbowl will attend.
Getting into the Pro Bowl is decided through several different voting systems. Players, coaches, and fans each get one-third of the votes determining which players will get into the pro bowl.
Unfortunately, this often results in the Pro Bowl being a popularity contest rather than an unbiased vote based on the player’s performance.
Additionally, many players opt out of the Pro Bowl for various reasons. Not wanting to play, playing in the Superbowl and injury concerns are all reasons why players may opt out.
The issue is this opens the door for other players to take their place on the team. Oftentimes by the end of opt-outs you will have 8th or 9th best player at their position playing in the Pro Bowl.
Major Differences Pro Bowl vs All Pro
Now that we have broken down what these terms mean let’s get into the major differences between the Pro bowl vs All Pro
In Person Game
The biggest difference between these two accolades is that only one features an actual game.
The Pro Bowl is itself a game played between the AFC and the NFC. Each team featuring the players voted into either team.
All Pro teams on the other hand are simply an accomplishment of a player. Though the All Pro is voted on as a team these players do not play an actual game together.
Number Of Players Selected
Another big difference between these two accomplishments is that they feature a differing number of players.
As we stated earlier Pro Bowls will invite more players if some of the players voted in are not able to intend. Additionally, there are two teams in the pro bowl with most positions having second and third strings.
This results in a large difference in the number of players between the Pro bowl vs All Pro. In total there were 89 players selected to the Pro Bowl for the 2020 NFL season.
While the All Pro Team only had a total of 69 players selected based on the 2020 NFL season.
Classification of first or second team
Another interesting difference between these two designations is that the All Pro team has a first and second team classification.
This means the players with the most votes are going to be on the first team while players with fewer votes are going to be on the second team.
The Pro Bowl of course does have starters and backups but all players in this game are simply considered “Pro Bowlers”.
How They Are Selected
The difference in the selection process of Pro Bowl vs All-Pro is another major difference. Pro bowls are selected by fans, players and coaches. This often results in only the most popular players making the game.
Players in smaller markets that are not playing prime time games are going to have a much harder time getting in.
All Pros on the other hand are voted on by sports media writers. These writers take the job very seriously and are sure to watch all the players in games throughout the year to determine if they are worthy of a vote.
This often results in very skilled players being voted All-Pro yet not getting a Pro Bowl nod due to their lack of popularity.
Importance of award
The public perception of being a pro bowler vs being an all-pro are quite different.
Due to the selection process and the number of players given each distinction these awards are not considered equal.
The Pro Bowl is still quite an accomplishment for an NFL player but it is not nearly as highly regarded as being an All-Pro.
Due to the fan voting aspect of the Pro Bowl popularity plays a huge role in the lineups. Building a brand as a football player is an impressive feat but when it comes to football it’s all about what is on the field.
All-Pro voting as mentioned earlier is done by sportswriters. These writers are intentional about not being biased towards their favourite players and instead try to vote as accurately as possible.
Not every sports writer is going to vote correctly but as a whole this process makes it being an All-Pro much more impressive.
The other factor that plays into the reputation of these awards is the number of players selected.
The Pro Bowl is going to select two full teams of players as well as many backups in case injuries occur. Additionally, many players are not going to participate in the Pro Bowl.
This means the NFL must bring in more players as Pro Bowlers in order to fill the roster for the game. This results in even more players being awarded Pro Bowler honours.
Overall being an All-Pro in the national football league is a much more impressive feat especially if a player is named to the first team. To learn more about the pro bowl see how it compares from the pro bowl vs the Super bowl.