Among the major sports, the NFL’s version of the All-Star game had to be one of the worst. The Pro Bowl pitted the best players in the NFL against each other (that weren’t playing in the Super Bowl), and you could just tell over the years it became less and less serious. It was a fun event, but players weren’t playing for anything, and it quickly fell out of favor with fans.
Starting in 2023, the NFL re-vamped their version of All-Star weekend into two separate days of skills competitions for the players named to the Pro Bowl. As in years past, players that were selected from teams matching up in the Super Bowl won’t participate. There will be five events on Thursday, February 2 followed by five events on Sunday, February 5, which will see a conference crowned the winner. All events will be taking place in and around Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Thursday, February 2
Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball
Alright, let’s not oversell the name. Pro Bowl Dodgeball would have been fine. Teams from each conference will square off in a multi-round tournament to determine a winner. Whichever team wins will earn three points for their conference. This one should be fun, especially as quarterbacks send missiles to their opponents.
Again, poor naming. This will be a three-part elimination round with players competing in Splash Catch, High Stakes and Thrill of the Spill. Splash Catch will see players tossing water balloons back and forth from increasing distances. High Stakes will see players attempting to catch punts from a JUGS machine. Thrill of the Spill will have players trying to hit targets attached to water buckets above a coach’s head. Look for players to take out some frustration for long conditioning days during the season in this event. The winning conference from the combined events will earn three points.
Four players will see who can drive a golf ball the furthest off a tee. Each player will get three swings, and they have to get their drives inside of the boundaries set up like a fairway. From what we watched of Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes in the Match, this one should be fun. The winning conference gets three points.
The three quarterbacks for each conference will have one minute to show off their accuracy. Events like this in the past have turned out brutal for some of the participants so keep an eye on how they do. The winning QB will earn three points for his conference.
Finally, two players from each conference will show off their best catches. This is almost like the NFL’s version of a dunk contest. This is a two-rounder extending into Sunday, and in the first round on Thursday, players will use iconic venues around Las Vegas to show off their stuff. The top player from each conference, decided by a fan vote, will advance to the Sunday finals.
Sunday, February 5
Best Catch Finals
The difference for the final round is that it will be determined by a panel of celebrity judges. The player that receives the most points from his reception will be declared the winner. A point total will likely be added for the winner’s conference, but it hasn’t been determined yet.
Six players from each team will compete in a side-by-side relay race. There are four parts to the gauntlet, and the winner will earn three points for his conference. This event has always been exciting in the past and should be a fun, fast-paced race.
Kick Tac Toe
This one gets bonus points for the best name out of all of the events. Each team’s long snapper, kicker, and punter will strut their stuff and play an NFL version of Tic Tac Toe. The first team to either successfully get tic tac toe or to get five targets on the board will win and earn three points for their conference.
Move the Chains
Each conference will have two teams competing at the same time. Each team has to pull a wall, you read that correctly, that is loaded down with weights. They have to pull it 10 yards, and the winner of the best of three events will earn three points for their respective conference.
In case you were wanting to see some actual football being played for the Pro Bowl Games, they have you covered, sort of. There will be three separate 7-on-7 flag football games on Sunday, per Tom Pelissero. It hasn’t been included if there will be any conference points awarded for this event.