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The Pro Bowl is usually an afterthought for NFL fans. Yet tight end George Kittle's attendance should be a nice reason for San Francisco 49ers fans to tune in.


Admit it, the Pro Bowl isn't all that exciting. Despite the NFL's numerous attempts to pique fans' interest, this exhibition contest isn't exactly must-watch television.

For San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, however, his first Pro Bowl appearance might be enough to convince some fans to tune in. Kittle, of course, set a single-season record for tight ends with 1,377 receiving yards in 2018. Both he and the Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce broke the previous record, set by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski back in 2012, with Kittle finishing first amid the historic season.

And it's what Kittle did after making the catch that made his efforts so special last year:


Kittle has become something of a cult hero in the days leading up to Sunday's Pro Bowl. According to 49ers.com's Keiana Martin, Kittle remained on the field after the skills competition long after other players left, greeting fans and signing autographs.

"That's really my favorite part," Kittle told NFL Network. "Just being able to hang out with the fans. I was a little kid once, and if an NFL player signed something for me, I knew it made the rest of my life. ...Whenever I see a little kid wanting something signed, I refuse to say no just because I know it makes an impact."

Kittle won't be starting in the Pro Bowl for the NFC squad, rather the Philadelphia Eagles' Zach Ertz will be the starting tight end instead. Yet the frequent player substitutions during the Pro Bowl likely ensures Kittle will see his fair share of field time. And considering there's a massive lack of defense during the game, it wouldn't be a shock to see Kittle rip off one of those long runs after the catch, either.

Maybe the chance of that alone is reason enough for 49ers fans to tune in.

The 2019 Pro Bowl kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN and ABC.