Senior Bowl Week Moving With NFL Schedule Shift to 17 Games
Jim Nagy and the Senior Bowl have announced the traditioned showcase game and its week-long events will be moving further down the calendar starting in 2022 thanks to the NFL's recent shift to a 17-game schedule.
The game itself will now be held on the first Saturday of February each year moving forward.
After years of speculation on the matter, the NFL announced it would in fact have 17-game seasons moving forward beginning this year. The NFL officially released the full 2021 season schedule Wednesday evening.
The event will not change locations, remaining at home in Mobile, Alabama on the campus of the University of South Alabama at Hancock Whitney Stadium, which debuted as the new home for the Senior Bowl in 2021. The shift in schedule will also allow the Senior Bowl to be fixated between the NFL's conference championship weekend and the Super Bowl as has been its tradition.
“The move is beneficial for our players since it gives them an extra week to heal up after the college season, and it’s great for fans traveling to Mobile because the game will overlap with Mardi Gras more often,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy told AL.com.
Due to the pandemic, last year's events were cancelled with the exception of practices and the senior showcase game itself. As for next year, the initial plans are to return all traditional events such as the Senior Bowl Summit, tailgating and the Friday Night Players Parade. Next year, a new event will debut with the festivities with the Senior Bowl Charities Celebrity Golf Classic which will feature former Senior Bowl players from over the years including Alabama stars Mac Jones, John Parker Wilson, Landon Dickerson, Ozzie Newsome and many others.
Last year, seven Alabama Crimson Tide players were featured on the Senior Bowl roster:
- QB Mac Jones
- RB Najee Harris
- WR DeVonta Smith
- OT Alex Leatherwood
- OG Deonte Brown
- OC Landon Dickerson
- LS Landon Fletcher
Though only Brown and Fletcher participated in the game itself, all seven players were drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft, four (Jones, Harris, Smith and Leatherwood) in the first round.
In total, the 2021 Senior Bowl produced 106 draft picks, 36 of which were selected in the first three rounds, meaning 41% of the 2021 NFL Draft was comprised of Senior Bowl athletes.
Crimson Tide seniors who could potentially be featured in next year's Senior Bowl include:
- RB Brian Robinson
- OC Chris Owens
- EDGE Chris Allen
- DL LaBryan Ray
- DB Daniel Wright