The Senior Bowl is a post-season college football all-star game played each January in Mobile, Alabama, which showcases the best NFL Draft prospects of those players who have completed their college eligibility. First played in 1950 in Jacksonville, Florida, the game moved to Mobile's Ladd–Peebles Stadium the next year, where it would remain through the 2020 edition. From 2021 forward, the game will remain in Mobile, but will move to the University of South Alabama's new Hancock Whitney Stadium. 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.
|Reese's Senior Bowl|
|Stadium||Hancock Whitney Stadium|
|Previous stadiums||Gator Bowl Stadium (1950)|
Ladd-Peebles Stadium (1951–2020)
|Previous locations||Jacksonville, Florida (1950)|
|North vs. South (North 34–17)|
|North vs. South (January 30, 2021)|
In 2007, telecast of the game moved from ESPN to NFL Network. In 2013, Reese's took over sponsorship, starting with the 2014 game. In January 2018, Reese's announced that they were extending their sponsorship of the game; a specific duration was not given.
Two teams, representing the North and the South, are coached by select coaching staff 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. 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 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 pro football. At one point the Senior Bowl was the first chance its participants had to openly receive pay for participation in an athletic event. This was one reason that participation was limited to seniors whose eligibility for further participation in collegiate football had expired, and the game was also their first exposure to the slightly different professional rules. Players who wished to participate in collegiate spring sports had to avoid participation in the Senior Bowl. The significance of all of this has waned in recent years as there has been some lessening of the former strict separation of professional and amateur athletes. Athletes sometimes decline invitations to participate in the Senior Bowl, opting instead to prepare for the NFL scouting combine or their colleges' pro day. 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. 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.
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 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 scheduled for the day after the Senior Bowl.
Players have traditionally been rostered into North and South teams for the Senior Bowl. From 1991 to 1993, the teams were designated AFC and NFC, to distinguish where their coaching staffs were from and to stress the professional nature of the game. This was confusing to some, as the game occurred well before players had been selected by teams in the NFL draft. In 1994, the designations were reverted to the traditional North vs. South format.
- All-time series, through the 2020 game (71 editions): South (35–30–3); AFC (2–1)
- The first game was played in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1950. All subsequent games have been played in Mobile, Alabama.
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 2020 game (71 editions, 142 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 Orleans Saints||2||3||–||.400||1991|
|4||New York Jets||2||2||–||.500||1979|
|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:
- Now known as Texas A&M–Kingsville.
- Now known as North Texas (without "State").
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 Kolar, 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
- Stephenson, Creg (March 4, 2020). "Senior Bowl to be played at South Alabama's Hancock Whitney Stadium beginning in 2021". AL.com. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
- "Senior Bowl, Reese's announce extension". seniorbowl.com (Press release). January 18, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "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 28, 2015.
- "First non-seniors to compete in Senior Bowl". CBS Sports. January 19, 2013. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- "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.
- Low, Chris (January 22, 2008). "Former Trojans happy to be reunited with Kiffin". ESPN.com.
- "Game Scores/MVPs". seniorbowl.com. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- "All-Time Senior Bowl Team". seniorbowl.com. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
- "Hall of Fame". seniorbowl.com. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
- "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 January 26, 2019.
- "Senior Bowl Players Drill in Cold Weather". Prescott Evening Courier. Associated Press. January 8, 1958. p. 5. Retrieved December 16, 2016.