After decades in Hawaii and several recent iterations of the game taking place in Orlando, Florida, the NFL’s Pro Bowl has a new home for next season. On Tuesday afternoon, the league announced that the 2021 Pro Bowl will take place in Las Vegas at the new Allegiant Stadium.
That field is also home to the Las Vegas Raiders starting this fall, and it marks only the third time that the Pro Bowl will be held in an NFL team’s active stadium since 1978. The event took place at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium in 2009 (the facility was known as Sun Life Stadium at the time) and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona in 2014 (then under the name of University of Phoenix Stadium). Each of the past four games has taken place in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, home to the University of Central Florida.
The awarding of the event to Las Vegas may be an attempt to help the city and the Raiders franchise recoup some of the income that was lost when the league canceled its live events for the 2020 NFL Draft, also planned to take place in Sin City. Vegas will host that event in 2022, locking in each of the next three draft locations. The full slate of Pro Bowl events will take place in Vegas next January, including the Pro Bowl Skills Competition and the championships of the NFL’s sponsored flag football league.
Some NFL players have already weighed in on their excitement about the destination. Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari is among them:
Bakhtiari famously has received only two Pro Bowl honors, in 2016 and 2019, but has been an All-Pro three times — twice as a second-team selection and once as a first-teamer in 2018. Universally accepted as one of the league’s best offensive tackles, Bakhtiari should be a no-brainer choice for the 2021 squad, barring injury.