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NFL Pro Bowl descends on ESPN Wide World of Sports this week

NFL FLAG Youth Media Night

Members of the NFL FLAG Championship teams will experience what it feels like to be in the spotlight like an NFL player at NFL FLAG Youth Media Night on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 6:00 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. At the event, NFL FLAG participants will take part in media interviews with current Pro Bowl players, NFL Legends and members of the media. In addition to being interviewed like the stars, NFL FLAG competitors will enjoy food and entertainment, photo opportunities, walk the Play Football Red Carpet like the NFL’s best, and have an opportunity to mix & mingle before the competition kicks off on Friday, Jan. 26.

NFL FLAG Championships at Pro Bowl Powered By USA Football

The NFL FLAG Championship powered by USA Football are returning to Pro Bowl. The NFL FLAG Championships will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from Friday, Jan. 26 – Saturday, Jan. 27 and are part of the NFL’s weeklong celebration of football at all levels. All teams will kick off the week at NFL FLAG Youth Media Night on Thursday, Jan. 25. Live coverage will occur on ESPN and ABC during NFL Countdown at 1:00 PM ET.

Sixty-six teams from across the country – ten regional champions in four divisions plus 26 teams selected by NFL Clubs – will compete. An additional five international teams from Canada, China and Mexico will participate in the exhibition games. Divisions include: 9-10 coed, 11-12 coed, 13-14 boys and 13-14 girls. NFL Pro Bowl players and Legends will serve as guest coaches, encouraging the teams as they compete for the national title.

The 13-14 Girls Championships will take place on Saturday, Jan. 27 after Pro Bowl practice during Play Football High School Day. ESPN and ABC will simulcast the 13-14 Boys Championship Game on Sunday, Jan. 28 as part of the network’s broadcast of the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.

NFL FLAG powered by USA Football promotes physical fitness and teaches the sport’s values and life skills on and off the field to more than 410,000 young people. A non-contact version of traditional football offered for boys and girls ages 5-17 in cities across the country, NFL FLAG emphasizes fun, safety, teamwork, self-esteem, discipline, and goal-setting. USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States.

Military Outreach

The following is a sampling of events planned for service members and their families in Orlando during Pro Bowl Week as part of the NFL’s Salute to Service:

· Following Pro Bowl practice on Saturday, Jan. 27 the NFL and Wounded Warrior Project will host a flag football game for 50 wounded warriors from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Following the game, warriors will join 100 individuals from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) for a special Military Appreciation Luncheon from 1:00 – 2:00 PM. NFL Legends, cheerleaders, and mascots will be in attendance to meet and greet TAPS families and wounded warriors and their families as they enjoy a complimentary meal.

· The NFL will host members of TAPS and Wounded Warrior Project at Pro Bowl practices throughout the week at ESPN Wide World of Sports and on game day.

· Family members from TAPS will enjoy complimentary admittance to Disney’s theme park.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 70,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge.

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) connects warriors with one another, their families, and communities. It serves warriors through lifesaving programs and services targeting mental and physical health, career and benefits counseling, and support for the most severely wounded. And WWP empowers warriors to mentor other veterans and live life on their terms.

Pro Bowl Skills Showdown

For the second consecutive year, players from the AFC and NFC will compete against each other in unique competitions at the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, which will air on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN. The event will also re-air across ESPN and ABC, as well as NFL Network.

The 2018 Pro Bowl Legends Captains, Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson of the AFC and Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn of the NFC, will lead their respective squads. Each Skills Showdown team will feature a mix of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linemen, linebackers, defensive backs and kickers.

Taking place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the competition will include:

· Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball presented by Pepsi: Pro Bowlers will compete in a game of dodgeball, with every member of each team participating. The team with the last person on the court wins.

· Kick-Tac-Toe: A new challenge that tests the accuracy of placekickers from both conferences with a version of the classic game, as they attempt to hit a 3×3 grid of targets inside the uprights.

· Gridiron Gauntlet: Five players from each team will participate in a relay race designed to showcase strength, speed, and agility. Among other surprises, the challenge will include a 40-yard dash with an inflated parachute that is attached to the first player on each team who will sprint before tagging in teammates.

· Best Hands presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Four receivers – two from each conference – will catch a series of passes at a sequence of downfield targets as quickly as possible. Designated targets require a specific style of catch – diving, one-handed, over the shoulder, etc. – which must be executed before the receiver can move on to the next target.

· Precision Passing presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Each conference’s quarterbacks will battle it out in an accuracy competition, as they attempt to hit targets of varying size and distance.

· Drone Drop Challenge: A bonus event during which one player from each team will attempt to catch footballs dropped from drones from increasing heights above the field. The player who makes the highest catch wins money for the charity of his choice.

EA SPORTS: The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship

From Thursday, Jan. 25 to Saturday, Jan. 27, EA SPORTS will host The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL. The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship, the third EA Major Series event of the $1 million Madden NFL 18 Championship Series, will bring together the top 32 players from across the country representing each NFL club to compete during Pro Bowl Week. These elite competitive players advanced through a grueling online elimination process featuring millions of Madden players in pursuit of the Club Championship title and their share of over $400,000.

The competitions will take place:

· Thursday, Jan. 25: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM ET

· Friday, Jan. 26: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM ET

· Saturday, Jan. 27: 2:00 PM – 12:00 AM ET

Special Olympics Flag Football Game

For the second year, the NFL and Special Olympics will team in Orlando during Pro Bowl Week to host a Unified Flag Football game with Special Olympics Florida athletes. The NFL and Special Olympics are committed to building inclusive communities and providing opportunities for athletes of all abilities to participate in sports through the expansion of Special Olympics Unified Sports flag football, where individuals with and without intellectual disabilities play flag football together on the same team. The Unified Flag Football game will take place on Wednesday, January 24 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Current Pro Bowl players will serve as coaches and cheer athletes on during the game.

The NFL and Special Olympics kicked off their national partnership last year at Pro Bowl. With, contributions from the NFL Foundation, Special Olympics provided grants to local Special Olympics Programs in eleven NFL team markets. This year, the NFL and Special Olympics will expand those efforts to five new markets that will receive NFL Foundation funding. The grants will be used to help enhance Unified Sports programming and increase participation of athletes, Unified partners, and coaches across the country. NFL teams have and will continue to work with local Special Olympics Programs to help grow and expand opportunities for Special Olympics Unified Flag Football.

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. They empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5.3 million athletes and Unified partners in 169 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year.

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