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Inside the NFL Pro Bowl

Hannah Curran |

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the USA National Football Conference as well as the NFL Pro Bowl. The conference is a five-day conference held in Orlando, Flordia for football coaches, USA Football staff, and NFL personnel. It was a great experience to be able to attend and meet many people with high positions in each program. There were speakers at the conference as well as over 70 vendors in attendance. The conference has grown so much from even just last year with the amount of speakers and vendors that were able to attend.

The vendors come and display products that can help entire school systems and programs improve. The technological advances they have made for football are now not only geared toward the NFL but are also now being geared towards the high school and youth programs. I saw things from statistics programs to helmet reconditioning programs aimed to make helmets safer. It’s an opportunity to have your company used by all the people attending the conference. In the place, the vendors are held they also have demonstrations on “heads up” tackling done by USA football experts. Other highlighted people at the conference were former NFL stars Ray Lewis and Jerome Bettis, as well as Scott Hallenbeck, the CEO of USA Football. I was also able to meet Mike Golic from the ESPN show, “Mike and Mike.”

The speakers I attended were Ray Lewis and Jerome Bettis. They talked about their outlooks on sports and their kids playing them. It was fascinating because they thought their kids should focus on one sport and that doesn’t seem to be what the professionals think is suitable for a child.

There was a dinner the Friday night of the conference, and there I was able to meet Merill Hoge. He played eight seasons for the Steelers and the Bears. He now is on the shows “NFL Matchup” and “Mike and Mike” as an analyst. He travels around to conferences like this and tells his story of being a cancer survivor and an NFL star.

After the conference part, I was able to attend the Saturday afternoon NFC Pro Bowl practice. There I met Odell Beckham, Jr. and Thomas Davis, Sr. Davis was one of the kindest people I have ever met. He stopped to sign every single kids’ football and didn’t skip anyone, which you don’t see coming from NFL players a lot anymore. The Pro Bowl game was fun, and coaches and players walked around some, so we were able to get a close look at them as well.

Overall, the opportunity I had to go to the conference and game was a once in a lifetime experience for me. I made amazing connections and met people that I could never have dreamed of meeting. Hopefully, I have the chance to return again and continue to meet people and see the new ideas they come up with improve football.


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