Pro Football Weekly, the first publication exclusively dedicated to coverage of the National Football League, has announced a five-part initiative to commemorate its 50th year in business.
The anniversary celebration kicks off March 19, when fans will be able to select a roster of the 50 greatest players of the past 50 years. Fans participating in the selection process will be eligible for grand prizes, including an all-inclusive package to the “Big Game” in February 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Daily and weekly prizes also will be awarded during the voting, which is open from March 19 to May 17. Fans can vote for their team at ProFootballWeekly.com. Contest Factory, a digital marketing company based in Orange County, California, designed the contest platform.
In addition to the fans’ team, Pro Football Weekly is assembling a panel of former players, coaches, team executives and noted football writers to select its own squad. Like the fans’ team, PFW’s “Team for the Ages” will be comprised of 50 of the greatest players from the past 50 years. In order to ensure players of all positions are considered, the team will resemble the positional makeup of an NFL roster.
The PFW panel also will select a coach of the honorary team. In order to be considered for the ballot, players must have been selected to Pro Football Weekly’s All-Pro team at least twice during their career.
Player selections will be announced beginning June 18. PFW will name one player each day (excluding weekends and the week of Fourth of July) through Sept. 3. The coach of PFW’s “Team for the Ages” will be named Sept. 4. The NFL’s regular season kicks off Sept. 6.
A special “Team for the Ages,” collector’s edition will be published later this year. Produced in a hybrid book/magazine format, the publication will be available on newsstands and in bookstores in the fall.
Additionally, a documentary is planned for a fall 2018 release. The production will feature the players selected to the team, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the selection process. The documentary will air on select TV outlets during the 2018 season.
In September, Pro Football Weekly will screen the documentary at a VIP premier in the Chicago area. Select members of the team are expected to attend the screening. Details regarding the premier are being finalized.
Executive Editor Hub Arkush has been around since PFW’s inception and has led the multimedia enterprise for more than 40 years.
“Over that time, we’ve broken more than a little ground in how the NFL has been covered and reported on,” Arkush said. “A great deal of our focus has been based in the independent evaluation of talent. PFW was the first to select an All-Pro team from both the NFL and AFL in 1968 – several years before interleague play began.”
Arkush, who also serves as the pro football expert for WSCR-AM radio in Chicago and provides sideline perspective for Westwood One’s live NFL coverage, is excited about the initiative.
“Getting the chance to work with legends of the game and millions of fans around the country to select the greatest team of the modern era feels like a terrific way to celebrate our first half century,” he said.
John Rung, Shaw Media’s president and CEO, said the 50th anniversary has been in the planning stages for some time.
“You only get one chance to celebrate a 50th anniversary, and we wanted to do this right,” Rung said. “Our company has devoted a good deal of resources to ensure this is a success. Our goal is to make PFW the most recognized and trusted brand covering the NFL.”