All-Pro is an honor bestowed upon professional American football players that designates the best player at each position during a given season. All-Pro players are typically selected by press organizations, who select an "All-Pro team," a list that consists of at least 22 players, one for each offensive and defensive position, plus various special teams players depending on the press organization that compiles the list. All-Pro lists are exclusively limited to the major leagues, usually only the National Football League; in the past, other leagues recognized as major, such as the American Football League of the 1960s or the All-America Football Conference of the 1940s, have been included in All-Pro lists.
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. Today, the teams are mostly published online or announced on various televised sports programs. Some organizations publish two All-Pro lists, a "First Team" and a "Second Team," with the first consisting of more prominent players than the second.
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. The NFL itself compiled official All-Pro lists beginning in 1931 but abandoned the practice in 1942.
The All-Pro designation, while not officially sanctioned by the NFL, is generally considered a more prestigious honor than the NFL's official all-star designation, a Pro Bowl recognition: a minimum of twice as many Pro Bowlers are selected as first and second team All-Pro slots combined, and Pro Bowl selections often drop out, allowing a lesser player to also receive the honor by default, which does not occur with the All-Pro list.