The Senior Bowl is a post-season college football all-star game played annually in late January or early February in Mobile, Alabama, which showcases the best NFL Draft prospects of those players who have completed their college eligibility. Produced by the non-profit Mobile Arts & Sports Association, the game is also a charitable fund-raiser, benefiting various local and regional organizations with over US$7.8 million in donations over its history. The game is sponsored by Reese's, a brand of The Hershey Company, and is televised by the NFL Network.
|Reese's Senior Bowl|
|Stadium||Hancock Whitney Stadium|
|Previous stadiums||Gator Bowl Stadium (1950)|
Ladd–Peebles Stadium (1951–2020)
|Previous locations||Jacksonville, Florida (1950)|
Food World (2002–2006)
Under Armour (2007–2011)
|National vs. American (National 20–10)|
|National vs. American (National 27–10)|
The 1950 Senior Bowl, the inaugural edition, was played at Gator Bowl Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida; the game then moved to Mobile's Ladd–Peebles Stadium the next year, where it remained through the 2020 edition. Starting with the 2021 edition, the game is played at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the campus of the University of South Alabama, also in Mobile.
Historically, the Senior Bowl was the first chance its participants had to openly receive pay for participation in an athletic event. Players in the inaugural 1950 game each received $343 (if on the losing team) or $475 (if on the winning team); by 1975, the amounts had been increased to $1,250 and $1,500. The 1988 edition was the last time players were paid ($1,500 and $1,750). This was one reason that participation was limited to seniors whose eligibility for further participation in college football had expired. Athletes who wished to play spring collegiate sports, such as college baseball, or otherwise remain eligible for amateur sports, had to avoid participation in the Senior Bowl.
The game has consistently been played on a Saturday in January, with the exception of 1976, when it was held on a Sunday. The scheduling date within January has varied – the earliest playing has been January 3 (1953 and 1959), while the latest playing prior to the 2022 edition has been January 30 (2010 and 2016). Since 1967, it has been traditionally set for the week before the NFL's Super Bowl (which itself is now played in February). It is usually scheduled as the final game of the college football season, although for a period during the 1980s and 1990s, it was the next-to-the-last game, followed a week later by either the Hula Bowl or the Gridiron Classic. From 2007 through 2011, and also in 2013, the Senior Bowl was again the penultimate game, followed by the Texas vs The Nation game a week later. In 2020, the revived Hula Bowl was played the day after the Senior Bowl.
CBS acquired national television coverage rights to the 1952 through 1954 games, though they never televised the games nationally under those rights. The first nationally televised Senior Bowl was in 1958 by NBC, and the games have been televised every year since. To commemorate the occasion and the publicity that the televising of the Senior Bowl would draw to the state of Alabama, Gov. James E. Folsom commissioned each player in the 1958 game as Honorary Admirals in the Alabama State Navy, as well as Senior Bowl founder Jimmy Pearre, North squad coach Joe Kuharich, South squad coach Paul Brown, and South squad past-coach Steve Owens; announcers for the televised event, Red Grange and Lindsey Nelson, were commissioned Honorary Colonels in the Alabama State Militia. ESPN televised the game as early as 1982, continuing until the game moved to the NFL Network starting with the 2007 edition.
Sponsors of the game have included Delchamps, a supermarket chain headquartered in Mobile; Food World, a supermarket chain headquartered in Birmingham; Under Armour; and Nike, Inc. Starting with the 2014 game, Reese's took over sponsorship. In January 2018, Reese's announced that they were extending their sponsorship of the game through at least the 2020 edition.
In March 2020, the Senior Bowl registered "The draft starts in Mobile" as a service mark. In October 2020, Panini America entered a multi-year agreement to produce trading cards for Senior Bowl players.
For most editions of the Senior Bowl, players have been rostered into North and South teams. In 1991, team names were changed to AFC and NFC, to distinguish where their coaching staffs were from and to stress the professional nature of the game. This was somewhat confusing, as the Senior Bowl is played early in the calendar year, typically several months before players are selected by teams in the NFL draft. Additionally, both coaching staffs for the 1993 game came from AFC teams. In 1994, team designations were reverted to the North vs. South format. In 2021, the bowl moved to American and National team designations.
The two teams are coached by coaching staffs that are selected from two NFL teams. In recent years, the coaching staffs have come from teams who finished near the bottom of the league standings, but whose coaches were not subsequently terminated. Beginning with the 2022 edition, head coaches serve in more of an advisory capacity while promoting select assistants into leadership roles on the staff.
Organizers stipulate a number of specific rules for the game, some of which are intended to reduce the chance of injury (e.g. "All blocks below the waist are prohibited"), and others that simplify what the teams need to practice and prepare for (e.g. "Only four rushers allowed, no 5-man pressures or blitzes from secondary permitted"). The game is also the players' first time competing under the slightly different professional rules (e.g. receivers must have both feet inbounds for a legal catch vs. just one foot inbounds in college football).
The week-long practice that precedes the game is attended by key NFL personnel (including coaches, general managers and scouts), who oversee the players as possible prospects for professional football. Athletes sometimes decline invitations to participate in the Senior Bowl, opting instead to prepare for the NFL scouting combine or their college's pro day.
The single-season record for number of players sent to the Senior Bowl from one school is 10 by Alabama in 1987, followed by nine sent by Auburn in 1988 and USC in 2008.
Dan Lynch of Washington State was the first (and to date only) player to appear in two Senior Bowls (1984 and 1985), having been granted an extra year of eligibility after the 1984 game. In 2013, two players (D. J. Fluker and Justin Pugh) with a year of college football eligibility remaining, but who had already graduated, became the first "fourth-year juniors" to be granted clearance to play in the Senior Bowl.
|North win||South win|
|American or AFC win||National or NFC win|
- All-time series, through the 2023 game (74 editions): South (35–30–3); AFC (2–1); National (3–0)
- The first game was played in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1950. All subsequent games have been played in Mobile, Alabama.
|Most points scored (winning team)||57, North||1980|
|Most points scored (losing team)||38, North||1987|
|Most points scored (both teams)||80 (South 42, North 38)||1987|
|Fewest points allowed||0, North||1990|
|Largest margin of victory||54, North (57–3)||1980|
Seven people have served as head coach in four or more Senior Bowls.
|Games||Head coach||W||L||T||Win pct.|
Games coached by NFL teamsEdit
Each of the current 32 NFL teams has coached in at least one Senior Bowl. Records include games played under a franchise's prior names (e.g. Boston Patriots appearances are included in the record of the New England Patriots). Updated through the 2023 game (74 editions, 148 appearances).
|Games||NFL team||W||L||T||Win pct.||Most recent|
|12||New York Giants||5||7||–||.417||1995|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||3||3||–||.500||2000|
|6||San Francisco 49ers||2||3||1||.417||2019|
|5||New York Jets||3||2||–||.600||2022|
|5||New Orleans Saints||2||3||–||.400||1991|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||2||–||.500||2007|
|3||New England Patriots||1||2||–||.333||1976|
|2||Green Bay Packers||2||0||–||1.000||2001|
|2||Los Angeles Chargers||2||0||–||1.000||2004|
|2||Los Angeles Rams||1||1||–||.500||1989|
denotes an MVP whose college team was not part of the top tier of college football (e.g. FBS, Division I-A, or historical predecessors) at the time they played in the Senior Bowl. There have been four such MVPs: Terry Bradshaw (Louisiana Tech, 1969 College Division season), Bill Kollar (Montana State, 1973 Division II season), Neil Lomax (Portland State, 1980 Division I–AA season), and Kyle Lauletta (Richmond, 2017 FCS season).
50th Anniversary Senior Bowl All-Time TeamEdit
The following team was selected by fan voting before the 1999 game:
Heisman Trophy winnersEdit
The following players who won the Heisman Trophy also played in the Senior Bowl. To date, the only Heisman Trophy winner to be named Senior Bowl MVP was Pat Sullivan in 1972.
|Player||Pos.||Heisman season||Senior Bowl||Ref.|
2020 winner DeVonta Smith accepted an invitation to the 2021 edition, but did not play.
Senior Bowl Hall of FameEdit
Established in 1987, the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame seeks to pay tribute to the many outstanding former Senior Bowl players who have made lasting contributions to the game of football. The Senior Bowl Hall of Fame also allows enshrinement to former coaches, administrators and other individuals whose efforts helped the Senior Bowl.
- 1988 – Joe Greene, Lee Roy Jordan, Steve Largent, Joe Namath, Walter Payton, Pat Sullivan, Jim Taylor, Travis Tidwell
- 1989 – Ed Jones, Ozzie Newsome, John Stallworth, Gene Upshaw, Jack Youngblood
- 1990 – Paul Brown, Tucker Frederickson, Jerry Kramer, Neil Lomax, Wellington Mara, Finley McRae, Jack Pardee, Rea Scheussler
- 1991 – Morten Andersen, James Brooks, Dave Butz, Weeb Ewbank, Doug Williams
- 1992 – Franco Harris, Mike Holovak, Sam Huff, Dan Marino, Don Shula, Pat Swilling
- 1993 – Cornelius Bennett, Bear Bryant, Ralph Jordan, Tom Landry, Marty Schottenheimer, Lynn Swann
- 1994 – Robert Brazile, Rickey Jackson, Mark Rypien, Jim Simpson
- 1995 – Bob Baumhower, Pat Dye, Bo Jackson, Gene Washington
- 1996 – James Lofton, Dick Steinberg, Kellen Winslow
- 1997 – Bob Hayes, Sterling Sharpe, Doak Walker
- 1998 – Jim McMahon, Ray Nitschke, Thurman Thomas
- 1999 – Tom Banks, Dale Carter, Paul Krause, Albert Lewis, Randall McDaniel, Art Monk, E. B. Peebles, Jr., Derrick Thomas, Roger Wehrli
- 2000 – Hanford Dixon, Brett Favre, Chuck Howley
- 2001 – William Andrews, Ron Jaworski, Eddie Robinson
- 2002 – Todd Christensen, Bert Jones, Steve McNair
- 2003 – Terry Beasley, Jeremiah Castille, Ted Hendricks
- 2004 – Derrick Brooks, Christian Okoye, Richard Todd
- 2005 – Larry Allen, Al Del Greco, Ray Perkins
- 2006 – Curtis Martin, Tony Nathan, Michael Strahan
- 2007 – E. J. Junior, Jake Plummer, Hines Ward
- 2008 – Dean Kleinschmidt, Kevin Mawae, Brian Urlacher
- 2009 – Jason Taylor, Shaun Alexander
- 2010 – Larry Johnson, Terrell Owens
- 2011 – None, due to NFL lockout
- 2012 – Keith Brooking, Donovan McNabb, Dan Reeves
- 2013 – John Abraham, Sylvester Croom, Aeneas Williams
- 2014 – Bill Kollar, Torry Holt, DeMarcus Ware
- 2015 – Woodrow Lowe, Tony Richardson, Kyle Williams
- 2016 – Steve Hutchinson, Bill Curry, Tamba Hali
- 2017 – Blaine Bishop, Lance Briggs, Jim Harbaugh
- 2018 – Al Wilson, Phil Villapiano, Jay Novacek
- 2019 – Rodney Hudson, DeMarco McNeil, Billy Neighbors
- 2020 – None, due to COVID-19 pandemic
- 2021 – Cameron Jordan, Joe Staley, Patrick Surtain, Fred Taylor, Reggie Wayne
- 2022 – Kevin Faulk, Von Miller, Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers, Patrick Willis
- ^ "Mobile Arts & Sports Association Inc". Charity Navigator. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
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- ^ Harwell, Hoyt (January 5, 1958). "Squad Members Arrive For Senior Bowl Game Saturday". The Salina Journal. Salina, Kansas.
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- ^ "Senior Bowl Teams Up With Reese's Brand". seniorbowl.com (Press release). 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
- ^ Inabinett, Mark (January 18, 2018). "Reese's extends title sponsorship of Senior Bowl". AL.com. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
- ^ "Trademark APPROVED!". Senior Bowl. April 24, 2020. Archived from the original on December 23, 2021. Retrieved January 18, 2021 – via Instagram.
- ^ "Panini America and Reese's Senior Bowl Sign Exclusive Multi-Year Agreement". seniorbowl.com (Press release). October 22, 2020. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
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- ^ "Rosters". seniorbowl.com. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
- ^ "Detroit Lions and New York Jets Named Coaching Staffs for 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl". seniorbowl.com. Reese's Senior Bowl.
- ^ "Game Rules". seniorbowl.com. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
- ^ Brugler, Dane (January 14, 2015). "2015 NFL Draft: UCLA QB Brett Hundley declines Senior Bowl". CBSSports.com. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015.
- ^ Low, Chris (January 22, 2008). "Former Trojans happy to be reunited with Kiffin". ESPN.com.
- ^ "Cougars set to add to Hall of Fame". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. April 16, 2006. p. 30. Retrieved December 24, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
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- ^ "Game Scores/MVPs". seniorbowl.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2019 – via Wayback Machine.
- ^ @CregStephenson (February 4, 2023). "Fresno State QB Jake Haener is your 2023 Senior Bowl MVP" (Tweet). Retrieved February 4, 2023 – via Twitter.
- ^ "All-Time Senior Bowl Team". seniorbowl.com. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
- ^ @CregStephenson (January 18, 2021). "Best I can tell, DeVonta Smith will be the 10th Heisman winner to participate in the @seniorbowl" (Tweet). Retrieved January 18, 2021 – via Twitter.
- ^ "Senior Bowl survives without Ward, other Heisman winners". Pensacola News Journal. Pensacola, Florida. January 13, 1994. p. 5D. Retrieved January 19, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- ^ a b Hyland, Frank (January 9, 1972). "Arm of Sullivan Active Again". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. 2-D. Retrieved January 18, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- ^ Leslie, Bill (January 8, 1950). "Travis Tidwell Outshines Field As South Wins Senior Bowl 22-13". Johnson City Press-Chronicle. Johnson City, Tennessee. UP. p. 11. Retrieved November 11, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
- ^ "South Rallies To Win Senior Bowl Contest". Palladium-Item. Richmond, Indiana. AP. January 9, 1955. p. 16. Retrieved January 18, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- ^ "North wins Senior Bowl". The Baltimore Sun. AP. January 13, 1974. p. B10. Retrieved January 18, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
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- ^ "Gilyard's big plays outshine Tim Tebow in Senior Bowl". Public Opinion. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. AP. January 31, 2010. p. 3B. Retrieved January 19, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- ^ "North vs. South - Box Score". ESPN.com. January 27, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- ^ Heim, Mark (January 18, 2021). "Alabama's DeVonta Smith accepts Senior Bowl invitation". MSN.com. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- ^ "Kollar, Holt and Ware Join HOF". seniorbowl.com (Press release). 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
- ^ "Senior Bowl to add 3 to Hall of Fame, Honor Jalyn Armour-Davis". WKRG. March 8, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- ^ "Hudson, McNeil, Neighbors to be inducted into HOF". seniorbowl.com (Press release). January 14, 2019. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
- ^ "2021 Senior Bowl Hall of Fame". seniorbowl.com (Press release). 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
- ^ "Senior Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2022". seniorbowl.com (Press release). April 21, 2022. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
- ^ "The Senior Bowl Hall of Fame". seniorbowl.com. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
- "Senior Bowl Players Drill in Cold Weather". Prescott Evening Courier. Associated Press. January 8, 1958. p. 5. Retrieved December 16, 2016.