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The NFL Pro Bowl 21 Can Only Happen Because Of Video Games

The NFL has announced that the NFL Pro Bowl 21 will be going virtual with EA's Madden NFL 21. The 2021 Pro Bowl, originally planned for the Allegiant Stadium at Las Vegas, has been canceled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time the NFL Pro Bowl has been canceled since 1949. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NFL has decided that it will be far less risky to take the entire event online in a live-streamed event. And Madden NFL 21 is the perfect digital venue.


Fans are still going to be able to tune in digitally to watch their favorite players, controlling themselves in-game. In an interview with Good Morning Football, NFL EVP of Club Business and Events Peter O'Reilly announced that actual Pro Bowl players will still be able to compete against one another, only now it will be in a virtual setting.

In the Madden video game series, football is painstakingly and realistically simulated — to the extent that an entire real football game, replete with real players, can be played live. It is also the only video game that is officially licensed by the NFL.

Apart from the 2021 Pro Bowl, the global esports market as a whole has been growing fast. The need for virtual entertainment during the pandemic, rather than in-person entertainment, has encouraged an overall growth to the video game market. And this year's Pro Bowl is only able to happen at all because of video games.


But Madden NFL is no stranger to big-time competition. In fact, the Madden NFL 21 Club Championship is currently ongoing, in which 32 candidates compete for a $750,000 prize pool. The esports championship is available to watch on both YouTube and Twitch, with the finals on Feb. 5.

Released last year, Madden NFL 21 has maintained a consistent and large number of players. According to EA's CEO, Madden NFL 21 is going to be an even more exciting package for next-generation consoles, blurring the lines between real sports and digital sports.

The Pro Bowl is expected to return to in-person play in 2022 in Las Vegas. Those who want to tune in can watch the game on television and online. It will be broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 3:00 p.m. EST on ESPN and ABC.