The NFL’s “All-Star Game” is quickly approaching, and this year’s Pro Bowl in Orlando, FL will bring together some of the brightest stars from the gridiron. While overshadowed by the following week’s Super Bowl extravaganza in Atlanta, the NFL has planned a weekend full of events with some of its biggest stars, and, yes, some community impact.
Who’s playing in the Pro Bowl?
In case you missed the pro bowl roster, here are just a handful of the big stars that will be in Orlando in two weeks: Von Miller, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt, Melvin Gordon, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Julio Jones, Khalil Mack, Ezekiel Elliott, Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Drew Brees, Saquon Barkley, and Zach Ertz. (Barring playoff results of course!)
Many of these players are regular activists throughout the year. DeAndre Hopkins gave his playoff game check worth about $29,000 to the family of Jazmine Barnes, a 7 year old killed in a drive-by shooting in Texas. Teammate J.J. Watt will always be remembered for his fundraising efforts surrounding Hurricane Harvey in Houston, where he raised more than $37 million for disaster relief efforts and victims.
Zach and Julie Ertz have started the Ertz Family Foundation and are actively working to support youth sports, education and family. Aaron Rodgers donated $1 million to fire relief efforts in his hometown of Chico, California. And the list goes on and on. There are dozens of players on the roster that do regular work in the community.
What kind of community impact will be made in Orlando?
The day before the Pro Bowl, youth and high school NFL Flag participants will team up with the Pro Bowlers to take part in community impact activities. The 2019 Pro Bowl Community Blitz will highlight youth football, youth health and wellness, community service and the NFL’s support league-wide of the Military Community.
Despite the fact that the game is no longer played in its original home of Hawaii, the NFL Foundation still offers the Pro Bowl Community Grant. The grant is awarded to nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the youth of Hawaii.
The Pro Bowl Champions Grant awards financial grants on behalf of players who were members of that year’s Pro Bowl Champion team (AFC or NFC). The eligible players for 2019 will be determined after the finish of the game. The NFL Foundation allows those players to refer a school or youth program to apply for a $10,000 grant.
What more could be done?
By no means do we want to take away from the grants and community programs that the NFL has slated for Pro Bowl Weekend, but there is always room to improve. With that many NFL stars in one place, it’d be great to see a more robust lineup of community events on Friday and Saturday. Whether it’s a fundraiser, visit to a community program or school, flag football game with underserved youth or building on the Community Blitz, there is a big opportunity to create a lasting impact in the Orlando community from the amount of star power in the vicinity.