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How does the NFL Pro Bowl work in 2021? Everything to know about virtual Madden game

The NFL Pro Bowl was called off this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the league got a little creative with its workaround. 

Instead of airing the traditional Pro Bowl, a virtual version of the game will be aired this weekend. Some current and former NFL players, along with celebrities, will be competing with Pro Bowl rosters in the “Madden NFL 21” video game.

“Even amidst unparalleled change across the sports industry, we are excited to transition many of the signature components of the Pro Bowl — which will go virtual in Madden NFL 21 — into a new innovative experience for our players and fans,” NFL executive vice president of club business and events Peter O’Reilly said in a statement.

MORE: Why is there no Pro Bowl this year?

So how exactly does this work? We’ll explain below what you can expect from the virtual Pro Bowl in 2021.

When is the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl?

Sunday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. EST

The virtual NFL Pro Bowl will be held in place of the game on Sunday, Jan. 5. The replacement “Madden NFL 21” 

How to watch the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl

The 2021 NFL Pro Bowl will be available to watch in a number of ways. You can watch through the EA Madden NFL Twitch channel, embedded above, as well as the NFL’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook platforms. The game will also be streamed on NFL Network.

In addition, streamers Ninja, FaZe Swagg, AustinShow and AMP will have the game available on their respective Twitch channels as a watch party.

Charissa Thompson and Michael Strahan will be hosting the event.

How is the Pro Bowl going to work this year?

The 2021 NFL Pro Bowl will be virtual, with eight players and celebrities competing against one another using the video game “Madden 21.” Four people will control the NFC while another four control the AFC, both being the full rosters as selected. Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray have been named as “Team Leads” as they are each Pro Bowl players this season. The players will be playing the game from their homes, and will play one five-minute quarter of the game.

In the first quarter it will be Deshaun Watson vs. Kyler Murray. In the second quarter it will be Keyshawn Johnson vs. Bubba Wallace. In the third quarter it will be Derrick Henry vs. Jamal Adams. In the fourth quarter it will be Snoop Dogg vs. Marshawn Lynch.

It’s not clear if the teams will get everyone involved like in a traditional Pro Bowl, or if it will pretty much just be the starters playing. EA Sports has a feature in its preseason for franchise mode that automatically subs in backups, so it’s certainly possible to apply that to the Pro Bowl.

AFC competitors

Snoop DoggDeshaun WatsonDerrick HenryKeyshawn Johnson

NFC competitors

Bubba WallaceMarshawn LynchKyler MurrayJamal Adams

AFC Pro Bowl roster

Position
Player
Team
QB
Patrick Mahomes
Chiefs
QB
Josh Allen
Bills
QB
Deshaun Watson
Texans
RB
Derrick Henry
Titans
RB
Nick Chubb
Browns
RB
Josh Jacobs
Raiders
WR
Tyreek Hill
Chiefs
WR
Stefon Diggs
Bills
WR
Keenan Allen
Chargers
WR
A.J. Brown
Titans
TE
Travis Kelce
Chiefs
TE
Darren Waller
Raiders
FB
Patrick Ricard
Ravens
T
Laremy Tunsil
Texans
T
Eric Fisher
Chiefs
T
Orlando Brown
Ravens
G
Quenton Nelson
Colts
G
Joel Bitonio
Browns
G
David DeCastro
Steelers
C
Maurkice Pouncey
Steelers
C
Ryan Kelly
Colts
DE
Myles Garrett
Browns
DE
Joey Bosa
Chargers
DE
Frank Clark
Chiefs
DT
Chris Jones
Chiefs
DT
Cameron Heyward
Steelers
DT
Calais Campbell
Ravens
OLB
T.J. Watt
Steelers
OLB
Bradley Chubb
Broncos
OLB
Matt Judon
Ravens
ILB
Darius Leonard
Colts
ILB
Tremaine Edmunds
Bills
CB
Xavien Howard
Dolphins
CB
Tre’Davious White
Bills
CB
Marlon Humphrey
Ravens
CB
Stephon Gilmore
Patriots
FS
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Steelers
FS
Justin Simmons
Broncos
SS
Tyrann Mathieu
Chiefs
LS
Morgan Cox
Ravens
P
Jake Bailey
Patriots
K
Justin Tucker
Ravens
RS
Andre Roberts
Bills
ST
Matthew Slater
Patriots

Bold: Starter

NFC Pro Bowl roster

Position
Player
Team
QB
Aaron Rodgers
Packers
QB
Russell Wilson
Seahawks
QB
Kyler Murray
Cardinals
RB
Dalvin Cook
Vikings
RB
Alvin Kamara
Saints
RB
Aaron Jones
Packers
WR
Davante Adams
Packers
WR
DeAndre Hopkins
Cardinals
WR
DK Metcalf
Seahawks
WR
Justin Jefferson
Vikings
TE
T.J. Hockenson
Lions
TE
Evan Engram
Giants
FB
Kyle Juszczyk
49ers
T
David Bakhtiari
Packers
T
Trent Williams
49ers
T
Terron Armstead
Saints
G
Brandon Scherff
Washington
G
Elgton Jenkins
Packers
G
Andrus Peat
Saints
C
Jason Kelce
Eagles
C
Frank Ragnow
Lions
DE
Cameron Jordan
Saints
DE
Brandon Graham
Eagles
DE
Chase Young
Washington
DT
Aaron Donald
Rams
DT
Fletcher Cox
Eagles
DT
Grady Jarrett
Falcons
OLB
Khalil Mack
Bears
OLB
Za’Darius Smith
Packers
OLB
Jason Pierre-Paul
Buccaneers
ILB
Bobby Wagner
Seahawks
ILB
Fred Warner
49ers
CB
Jalen Ramsey
Rams
CB
Jaire Alexander
Packers
CB
Marshon Lattimore
Saints
CB
James Bradberry
Giants
FS
Quandre Diggs
Seahawks
SS
Budda Baker
Cardinals
SS
Jamal Adams
Seahawks
LS
Tyler Ott
Seahawks
P
Jack Fox
Lions
K
Younghoe Koo
Falcons
RS
Cordarrelle Patterson
Bears
ST
Nick Bellore
Seahawks

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