While the NFL has been 100% fine with risking the health and lives of players and staff during the 2020 regular season, the annual Pro Bowl game — supposed to be have been played before the Super Bowl in early 2021 — has been marked as expendable.
In a statement released earlier today, the NFL said that despite cancelling the actual Pro Bowl, the event would still be played, only now it would take place via Madden 21 instead of a football field.
Fans will still get to vote on who they think the best players in the league are, only those selections will now be represented in the video game. It’ll also mean that for the first time in Pro Bowl history we’ll get to see full-strength teams, since so many of the best players miss the game every year due to injury, the fact they’re appearing in the Super Bowl or just can’t be bothered turning up.
Interestingly, the announcement only mentions that the game will be played virtually and broadcast on regular sports networks, and doesn’t say anything about who will actually be controlling it (fans are voting on who will make the rosters, not pick up controllers). It does, however, say that leading up to the virtual Pro Bowl there will be other “matchups featuring celebrities, NFL Legends, current players, and streamers”, so who knows, they might just pick some players out of that group and run with it.