This weekend, the NFL will be hosting its first in-person Pro Bowl since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, EA announced that Madden 22 will once again play a significant role in this year’s Pro Bowl festivities. The NFL Pro Bowl: Madden NFL 22 Edition (it’s full Christian name) will take place along-side in-person Pro Bowl festivities on Sunday, February 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The NFL Pro Bowl: Madden NFL 22 Edition
“Coming off the success of last year, the NFL welcomes the return of the Pro Bowl experience in Madden NFL 22,” said Joe Ruggiero, the Senior Vice President of consumer products for the NFL in a press release. The same press release highlights the fact that last year’s NFL Pro Bowl: Madden NFL 21 Edition Presented by Verizon (sheesh) “became the most-viewed event in Madden NFL history.” The lack of a physical Pro Bowl last year probably helped pump these numbers. However, the NFL and EA are excited to return to a successful idea regardless.
This year’s Pro Bowl experience will tie into Superstar KO as part of Madden 22’s “Play to LA” Super Bowl LVI leadup event. Players will also be able to play as both the AFC and NFC 2022 Pro Bowl rosters. These head-to-head matches will earn yet-to-be-revealed rewards.
This year’s festivities will include an additional gimmick. NFL stars Derwin James, Nick Chubb, Micah Parsons and Justin Jefferson will compete in the “biggest Madden NFL game in history.” Does this mean the stakes will be higher than they’ve ever been? Nah, it just means they’ll try to set the Guinness World Record for the largest projected video game display. This game will be streamed the Saturday before the Pro Bowl, on February 5. I wonder if strangers on the Vegas strip count towards total viewership.
We weren't lying when we said break out the record books…
— Madden NFL 23 (@EAMaddenNFL) February 1, 2022
Choosing Safety (Though Less Than Last Year)
Last year I wrote that the move to an all-digital Pro Bowl was one of the NFL’s few decisions that actually protected the health of its talent. Considering this year’s Madden 22 Pro Bowl experience accompanies an in-person event despite all-time high positive COVID-19 infections, it’s hard to give them the same credit. Still, it’s an interesting way to involve folks in Pro Bowl celebrations safely. We’ll see how this event evolves over the next few years, especially if they keep using the language of the pandemic.
The NFL Pro Bowl: Madden NFL 22 Edition will beginning streaming on February 5 at 6 PM Eastern.