Pro Bowl Starters

Pro Bowl Starters

Postby Oszuscik » Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:31 am

One piece of history that I'm surprised to be having problems with is identifying starters in the Pro Bowl, mostly from the 60's and early 70's. I'm noticing mistakes in media guides, and discrepancies in old newspapers from that era. Does anyone know of a good source for finding this information?

I appreciate it!
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby Oszuscik » Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:55 am

Actually here's a more specific question, does anyone remember if starters were always determined by vote? Or in the past was that ever determined by who was coaching the Pro Bowl based on the roster he was given?
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby RichardBak » Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:04 am

Oszuscik wrote:Actually here's a more specific question, does anyone remember if starters were always determined by vote? Or in the past was that ever determined by who was coaching the Pro Bowl based on the roster he was given?


My impression from researching the Pro Bowl's first 10 games (1951-60) was that the coaches determined the starting lineups.
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby rhickok1109 » Mon Oct 11, 2021 12:07 pm

Some years back, the PFRA published a small book by John Hogrogian titled All-Pros: The First 40 Years, which listed the members of all of those 40 All-Pro teams, including how they were selected. It was later updated by someone (John Turney?).
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby Oszuscik » Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:58 pm

RichardBak wrote:
Oszuscik wrote:Actually here's a more specific question, does anyone remember if starters were always determined by vote? Or in the past was that ever determined by who was coaching the Pro Bowl based on the roster he was given?


My impression from researching the Pro Bowl's first 10 games (1951-60) was that the coaches determined the starting lineups.


That's the impression I've been getting with the 1960's Pro Bowls as well. I'll have to do more reading though.
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby Oszuscik » Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:18 am

An update for anyone interested, finally found the answer in the Los Angeles Times from May 1972. Before the 1972 season the league decided that the top vote-getters for the Pro Bowl would be the starters in the game. Prior to the 1972 season, the NFC and AFC coaches decided the starting lineups during the week before the game.
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby RichardBak » Thu Oct 14, 2021 1:27 pm

I'm wondering how the alternates were selected for the first couple decades? I know from 1951-60 some players---big names---skipped the Pro Bowl in favor of the Hula Bowl, which was played a week earlier in Hawaii. And of course some picks couldn't play in the Pro Bowl because of injury.
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby SixtiesFan » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:17 pm

I once read an interview with Jim Brown. He said something about how the starters in the Pro Bowl were determined: At the first Pro Bowl practice, the coaches would call for the starters to take their places. Without any list being read or names called, 11 players would go to their position. Brown said, "The players know. Can you imagine a quarterback stepping in front of Unitas?"
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby Oszuscik » Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:34 am

RichardBak wrote:I'm wondering how the alternates were selected for the first couple decades? I know from 1951-60 some players---big names---skipped the Pro Bowl in favor of the Hula Bowl, which was played a week earlier in Hawaii. And of course some picks couldn't play in the Pro Bowl because of injury.


I can't confirm this because I didn't make note of it while I was searching old newspapers articles, but before 1972 I believe the NFC and AFC coaches chose the alternates. If a player who was voted to the Pro Bowl dropped out for whatever reason, I believe it was the coach who chose who would replace him. Again, can't confirm it, but I remember coming across that the other day. If so, it kind of makes those Pro Bowl rosters from the 60's a little sketchy, since you had coaching bias on naming the starters and the replacements for those who dropped out.
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Re: Pro Bowl Starters

Postby RRMarshall » Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:39 pm

One piece of history that I'm surprised to be having problems with is identifying starters in the Pro Bowl, mostly from the 60's and early 70's. I'm noticing mistakes in media guides, and discrepancies in old newspapers from that era. Does anyone know of a good source for finding this information?


If this hasn't been mentioned before the old NFL Record Manuals used to contain box scores of the Pro Bowls and the Chicago All-Star Game complete with the starting line ups. I have from 1970 on up but nothing further back. However, the Hesburg library on the campus of Notre Dame have the 1960s editions in their archives and they do take research request. They once copied an entire old media guide for me and they are very cordial and professional.
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