The event was established in part to prepare draft-eligible college football players for a career in the NFL. During the week preceding the game, the NFLPA provides an introduction to the players union and educates players on the business side of an NFL career. Current and former NFL players are invited to attend the week's events to share their NFL experiences with the draft eligible players. The NFLPA also hosts community-focused events including a youth football clinic.
The inaugural NFLPA Collegiate Bowl was held on January 21, 2012 and broadcast on the NBC Sports Network. Former NFL coaches Dick Vermeil and Tom Flores coached the National and American teams respectively. The National team won the game 20-14. Following the game, G.J. Kinne was named MVP. The second annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl was held on January 19, 2013. Prior to the game, the NFLPA and ESPN signed a multiyear agreement to air the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on the ESPN Network. The game was broadcast on ESPN2 and, as part of the agreement, some of the practices leading up to the event were aired on ESPNU. Dick Vermeil returned to coach the National team and Herm Edwards was selected to coach the American team. The National team won the game 34-0 and Dayne Crist was named MVP.