An All-Pro is an American football player in the National Football League (NFL) voted as one of the best players of their position during a given season. Historically, All-Pro designations sometimes also included players from the American Football League (AFL) and All-America Football Conference (AAFC). All-Pro players for each position are selected to form an All-Pro team.
Beginning in the early 1920s, All-Pro teams have traditionally been assembled from press polls of individually voting sportswriters. After polling the writers, the votes are tallied to determine the selected players and the results have historically been published through various news syndicates. From 1931 through 1942, the NFL selected its own official All-Pros. Today, the teams are mostly published online or announced on various televised sports programs. Some organizations also include "second-team" All-Pros, designating the runners-up at each position.
The Associated Press (AP) and its All-Pro selections are the most widely recognized today. Other polls include the United Press International All-Pro poll, which began in the 1940s and continued in various forms until 1997, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team, which ran from 1954 until 1996, and the Pro Football Writers Association All-Pro teams, which were inaugurated in 1966 and continue to be released annually. All-Pro selection are deemed more prestigious than a selection to the Pro Bowl, the NFL's annual all-star game.
The AP began selecting All-Pros in 1940, and is the longest running annual selector of the top NFL players. The All-Pro Team is an annual selection of the best players in the NFL by position as selected by a national panel of AP media members. Unlike selection to the Pro Bowls, votes are cast for outstanding players by position without consideration for whether the player competes in the American Football Conference (AFC) or National Football Conference (NFC).
The first team consists of the top one or two players at each position; the second team consists of the runners-up at each position. One player is selected at quarterback, fullback, tight end, center, punter, place kicker, and kick returner, while two players are selected at running back, wide receiver, offensive tackle, offensive guard, outside linebacker, inside/middle linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle, cornerback, and safety. In 2016, for the first time, the AP picked specific positions on the offensive line, a "flex" player on offense, and a fifth defensive back.
The AP claims that the selection panel is national one, but some NFL media markets such as Detroit, a city who has had an NFL team since 1934, do not have a vote.
The Sporting News published All-Conference teams beginning in the 1950s. In 1980 it began choosing an All-Pro team, rather than two All-Conference teams. Since its teams are published in Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the NFL, they are recognized by the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team was different from the press polls. It was created by Murray Olderman in 1954 purporting to be the "Players' All-Pro Team" as it was a poll of NFL players themselves. This poll was last published in 1997.
The PFWA All-NFL Team was inaugurated in 1966 and is still released each year. A press poll of the members of the Pro Football Writers Association, it has been released since the 1990s in Pro Football Weekly. Additionally, the editors and writers of Pro Football Weekly have personally selected All-AFC and All-NFC teams since 1970.
Also a press poll, it began in the 1930s and continued until 1969. In 1970 UPI began selecting All-AFC and All-NFC teams, which ran through 1996.
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