As the dust begins to settle on what essentially was an expedited CBA negotiation affecting multiple years of the relationship between the NFL and NFL Players Association, more details of the efforts to gird against pandemic-induced losses are emerging.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Media tweeted on Saturday morning that “[o]ne of the concessions from the NFLPA” in connection with the revised labor deal is that “Pro Bowl pay has been eliminated this year.” With $74,000 per player on the winning team and $37,000 per player on the losing team, Garafolo estimates the savings at $5 million. (I’ll take his word for it, because I don’t feel like doing math this morning. Or any morning. Or afternoon. Or evening.)
That’s probably the first of the savings associated with the 2020 Pro Bowl. Ultimately, travel and hotel rooms and practice facilities and food and all other expenses will be avoided as well, because there likely will be no Pro Bowl at all.
That’s the real takeaway from this report. Beyond the fact that no player in his right mind would voluntarily revert to the college football no-pay model (especially in a pandemic), why would the NFL bring players from all over the country to Las Vegas for an experience that, given the pandemic protocols, will hardly be the week of rest and relaxation capped by two-hand-touch in full pads?
Unless an effective vaccine has been created and distributed by late January (which is highly unlikely at this point), the NFL won’t be able to justify staging a meaningless game that creates unnecessary risk to everyone associated with it at the height of cold and flu season, especially after playing enough games to even get to the point that the Pro Bowl would be played.
So bet the under on the Pro Bowl happening in January 2021. Maybe, like so many other changes necessitated by COVID-19, the cancellation of the Pro Bowl will become permanent, too.
Elimination of 2020 Pro Bowl pay likely means no 2020 Pro Bowl originally appeared on Pro Football Talk