After what can be charitably called some lackluster effort at the Pro Bowl Sunday night, I thought I’d outline a few issues surrounding the game, a game many think should not even be played.
While there was little action on the field, the action around the Pro Bowl is off the field. There is no gathering on the NFL calendar, including this week’s Super Bowl, quite like it. It is a toxic mix of superstar players and their families, agents there to either protect their assets or poach on new ones, and assorted others. Before getting to that, here are some business aspects of the game itself:
Pro Bowl bonuses
A good percentage of veteran contracts in the NFL have incentives for making the Pro Bowl, with amounts ranging from around $25,000 up to $500,000. Of course, in elite contracts that average $10 million and higher, Pro Bowl bonuses are usually not part of them as teams maintain that the value of these contracts presumes Pro Bowl-level performance.
The contract language varies from team to team, but the standard Pro Bowl incentive triggers “in the event Player is selected on the original ballot.” This means the player must be one of the three quarterbacks, four wide receivers, two centers, etc. actually voted in to play the game. While Pro Bowl alternates subsequently added to the roster do receive payment for the game itself (see below), they would not receive a Pro Bowl bonus unless their contract specifically stated that the bonus triggers “if selected as an alternate and later added to the roster.” I am not aware of any of these clauses.
Injured players who are “medically excused” and Super Bowl participants selected on the original ballot do receive their bonuses as per their contract. Thus, any Patriots or Giants players with Pro Bowl bonuses who were selected to the game will receive that money – along with their Super Bowl money ($44,000 to each losing player; $88,000 to each winning player) despite not participating due to Super Bowl preparations.
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