|Reese's Senior Bowl|
|Stadium||Hancock Whitney Stadium|
|Previous stadiums||Gator Bowl Stadium (1950)|
Ladd–Peebles Stadium (1951–2020)
|Previous locations||Jacksonville, Florida (1950)|
|National vs. American (National 20–10)|
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.
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 in January, which is typically three months before players are selected by teams in the NFL draft.[a] In 1994, team designations were reverted to the North vs. South format. The 2021 edition of 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. 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.
|Date||North / American team
(AFC 1991–1993; American 2021)
|South / National team
(NFC 1991–1993; National 2021)
|Coach||Coach's team||Score||Score||Coach's team||Coach|
|January 7, 1950||Bo McMillin||Detroit Lions||13||22||New York Giants||Steve Owen||South, 1–0|
|January 6, 1951||Bo McMillin||Detroit Lions||18||19||New York Giants||Steve Owen||South, 2–0|
|January 5, 1952||Paul Brown||Cleveland Browns||20||6||New York Giants||Steve Owen||South, 2–1|
|January 3, 1953||Paul Brown||Cleveland Browns||28||13||New York Giants||Steve Owen||Tied, 2–2|
|January 9, 1954||Paul Brown||Cleveland Browns||20||14||New York Giants||Steve Owen||North, 3–2|
|January 8, 1955||Paul Brown||Cleveland Browns||6||12||New York Giants||Steve Owen||Tied, 3–3|
|January 7, 1956||Buddy Parker||Detroit Lions||2||12||Cleveland Browns||Paul Brown||South, 4–3|
|January 5, 1957||Joe Kuharich||Washington Redskins||7||21||Cleveland Browns||Paul Brown||South, 5–3|
|January 11, 1958||Joe Kuharich||Washington Redskins||15||13||Cleveland Browns||Paul Brown||South, 5–4|
|January 3, 1959||Joe Kuharich||Washington Redskins||12||21||Cleveland Browns||Paul Brown||South, 6–4|
|January 9, 1960||Jim Lee Howell||New York Giants||26||7||Baltimore Colts||Weeb Ewbank||South, 6–5|
|January 7, 1961||Jim Lee Howell||New York Giants||26||33||Baltimore Colts||Weeb Ewbank||South, 7–5|
|January 6, 1962||Tom Landry||Dallas Cowboys||7||42||Baltimore Colts||Weeb Ewbank||South, 8–5|
|January 5, 1963||Tom Landry||Dallas Cowboys||27||33||Baltimore Colts||Weeb Ewbank||South, 9–5|
|January 4, 1964||George Wilson||Detroit Lions||21||28||Dallas Cowboys||Tom Landry||South, 10–5|
|January 9, 1965||George Wilson||Detroit Lions||7||7||Dallas Cowboys||Tom Landry||South, 10–5–1|
|January 8, 1966||Mike Holovak||Boston Patriots||18||27||New York Jets||Weeb Ewbank||South, 11–5–1|
|January 7, 1967||Norm Van Brocklin||Atlanta Falcons||35||13||Washington Redskins||Otto Graham||South, 11–6–1|
|January 6, 1968||Mike Holovak||Boston Patriots||21||34||Kansas City Chiefs||Hank Stram||South, 12–6–1|
|January 11, 1969||Allie Sherman||New York Giants||27||16||St. Louis Cardinals||Charley Winner||South, 12–7–1|
|January 10, 1970||Lou Saban||Denver Broncos||37||37||Baltimore Colts||Don Shula||South, 12–7–2|
|January 9, 1971||Lou Saban||Denver Broncos||31||13||New York Jets||Weeb Ewbank||South, 12–8–2|
|January 8, 1972||Alex Webster||New York Giants||21||26||New Orleans Saints||J. D. Roberts||South, 13–8–2|
|January 6, 1973||Lou Saban||Buffalo Bills||30||33||New York Jets||Weeb Ewbank||South, 14–8–2|
|January 12, 1974||Mike McCormack||Philadelphia Eagles||16||13||Detroit Lions||Don McCafferty||South, 14–9–2|
|January 11, 1975||John Ralston||Denver Broncos||17||17||San Francisco 49ers||Dick Nolan||South, 14–9–3|
|January 11, 1976||Chuck Fairbanks||New England Patriots||42||35||Chicago Bears||Jack Pardee||South, 14–10–3|
|January 8, 1977||Forrest Gregg||Cleveland Browns||27||24||Miami Dolphins||Don Shula||South, 14–11–3|
|January 7, 1978||Don Coryell||St. Louis Cardinals||17||14||Atlanta Falcons||Leeman Bennett||South, 14–12–3|
|January 13, 1979||Walt Michaels||New York Jets||21||41||New Orleans Saints||Dick Nolan||South, 15–12–3|
|January 12, 1980||Bud Grant||Minnesota Vikings||57||3||New York Giants||Ray Perkins||South, 15–13–3|
|January 17, 1981||Bill Walsh||San Francisco 49ers||23||10||Denver Broncos||Red Miller||South, 15–14–3|
|January 16, 1982||Marv Levy||Kansas City Chiefs||10||27||Pittsburgh Steelers||Chuck Noll||South, 16–14–3|
|January 22, 1983||Frank Kush||Baltimore Colts||14||6||New Orleans Saints||Bum Phillips||South, 16–15–3|
|January 14, 1984||Kay Stephenson||Buffalo Bills||20||21||San Diego Chargers||Don Coryell||South, 17–15–3|
|January 12, 1985||Jim Hanifan||St. Louis Cardinals||7||23||Green Bay Packers||Forrest Gregg||South, 18–15–3|
|January 18, 1986||Dan Reeves||Denver Broncos||31||17||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Leeman Bennett||South, 18–16–3|
|January 17, 1987||John Robinson||Los Angeles Rams||38||42||Miami Dolphins||Don Shula||South, 19–16–3|
|January 23, 1988||Chuck Knox||Seattle Seahawks||21||7||New Orleans Saints||Jim Mora||South, 19–17–3|
|January 21, 1989||Dan Reeves||Denver Broncos||12||13||Los Angeles Rams||John Robinson||South, 20–17–3|
|January 20, 1990||Marty Schottenheimer||Kansas City Chiefs||41||0||Philadelphia Eagles||Buddy Ryan||South, 20–18–3|
|January 19, 1991||Marty Schottenheimer||Kansas City Chiefs||38||28||New Orleans Saints||Jim Mora||AFC, 1–0|
|January 18, 1992||Art Shell||Los Angeles Raiders||13||10||Chicago Bears||Mike Ditka||AFC, 2–0|
|January 16, 1993||Ted Marchibroda||Indianapolis Colts||6||21||Cleveland Browns||Bill Belichick||AFC, 2–1|
|January 22, 1994||Rich Kotite||Philadelphia Eagles||32||35||Miami Dolphins||Don Shula||South, 21–18–3|
|January 21, 1995||Dan Reeves||New York Giants||7||14||Indianapolis Colts||Ted Marchibroda||South, 22–18–3|
|January 20, 1996||Dennis Erickson||Seattle Seahawks||25||10||Chicago Bears||Dave Wannstedt||South, 22–19–3|
|January 18, 1997||Norv Turner||Washington Redskins||35||14||Kansas City Chiefs||Marty Schottenheimer||South, 22–20–3|
|January 17, 1998||Ted Marchibroda||Baltimore Ravens||8||31||Washington Redskins||Norv Turner||South, 23–20–3|
|January 23, 1999||Jon Gruden||Oakland Raiders||21||31||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Tony Dungy||South, 24–20–3|
|January 22, 2000||George Seifert||Carolina Panthers||24||21||Kansas City Chiefs||Gunther Cunningham||South, 24–21–3|
|January 20, 2001||Bill Cowher||Pittsburgh Steelers||16||21||Green Bay Packers||Mike Sherman||South, 25–21–3|
|January 26, 2002||Mike Holmgren||Seattle Seahawks||26||41||Arizona Cardinals||Dave McGinnis||South, 26–21–3|
|January 18, 2003||Dom Capers||Houston Texans||17||0||Detroit Lions||Marty Mornhinweg||South, 26–22–3|
|January 24, 2004||Marvin Lewis||Cincinnati Bengals||10||28||San Diego Chargers||Marty Schottenheimer||South, 27–22–3|
|January 29, 2005||Norv Turner||Oakland Raiders||23||13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Jon Gruden||South, 27–23–3|
|January 28, 2006||Jeff Fisher||Tennessee Titans||31||14||San Francisco 49ers||Mike Nolan||South, 27–24–3|
|January 27, 2007||Jon Gruden||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27||0||San Francisco 49ers||Mike Nolan||South, 27–25–3|
|January 26, 2008||Lane Kiffin||Oakland Raiders||16||17||San Francisco 49ers||Mike Nolan||South, 28–25–3|
|January 24, 2009||Marvin Lewis||Cincinnati Bengals||18||35||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jack Del Rio||South, 29–25–3|
|January 30, 2010||Jim Schwartz||Detroit Lions||31||13||Miami Dolphins||Tony Sparano||South, 29–26–3|
|January 29, 2011||Marvin Lewis||Cincinnati Bengals||10||24||Buffalo Bills||Chan Gailey||South, 30–26–3|
|January 28, 2012||Leslie Frazier||Minnesota Vikings||23||13||Washington Redskins||Mike Shanahan||South, 30–27–3|
|January 26, 2013||Dennis Allen||Oakland Raiders||16||21||Detroit Lions||Jim Schwartz||South, 31–27–3|
|January 25, 2014||Mike Smith||Atlanta Falcons||10||20||Jacksonville Jaguars||Gus Bradley||South, 32–27–3|
|January 24, 2015||Ken Whisenhunt||Tennessee Titans||34||13||Jacksonville Jaguars||Gus Bradley||South, 32–28–3|
|January 30, 2016||Jason Garrett||Dallas Cowboys||16||27||Jacksonville Jaguars||Gus Bradley||South, 33–28–3|
|January 28, 2017||John Fox||Chicago Bears||15||16||Cleveland Browns||Hue Jackson||South, 34–28–3|
|January 27, 2018||Vance Joseph||Denver Broncos||16||45||Houston Texans||Bill O'Brien||South, 35–28–3|
|January 26, 2019||Jon Gruden||Oakland Raiders||34||24||San Francisco 49ers||Kyle Shanahan||South, 35–29–3|
|January 25, 2020||Matt Patricia||Detroit Lions||34||17||Cincinnati Bengals||Zac Taylor||South, 35–30–3|
|January 30, 2021||Matt Rhule||Carolina Panthers||24||27||Miami Dolphins||Brian Flores||National, 1–0|
|February 5, 2022†||Dan Campbell||Detroit Lions||10||20||New York Jets||Robert Saleh||National, 2-0|
†beginning with the 2022 head coaches will serve in more an advisory capacity while promoting select assistants into leadership roles on the staff
|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.|
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 2021 game (72 editions, 144 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||2||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).
The following team was selected by fan voting before the 1999 game:
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.
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.
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