The NFL has overhauled the Pro Bowl for 2023. Rather than having just an exhibition game between the best players of the AFC and NFC, there will be a series of skills competitions that lead up to three 7-on-7 flag football games. The events will begin on Thursday, Feb. 2 and will continue on Sunday, Feb. 5, on ESPN.
2023 NFL Pro Bowl: Skills competition events
Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball
The Pro Bowl teams will be separated into four smaller teams of five players, each separated into offense and defense. They will first take on the other team from the same conference so that the final round can be the AFC vs. the NFC. The winning team will earn three points for their conference.
The Lightning Round is actually made up of three separate mini-games. 16 players from each conference will compete through the gauntlet until there is only one player standing at the end to earn three points for his conference. The first mini-game will be Splash Catch which will see teammates tossing water balloons back and forth. The second is called High Stakes and involves players catching punts from a JUGS machine. The third and final mini-game is called Thrill of the Spill. The remaining contestants will aim at targets above an opposing conference head coach. The first team to spill the bucket on the coach will win.
The NFL has taken notice of how much its players hit the links. Four players will each get three swings as they try to drive their golf ball the furthest within the boundaries of the fairway. This event is pre-recorded but will air on Thursday, and the winner will win three points for his conference.
This event was instituted in 2022 and is back. Two quarterbacks and one non-quarterback will compete to hit as many targets as possible in one minute. Once the buzzer sounds, each of the quarterbacks competing will get one more long-distance throw for the chance at bonus points. The NFL has not said how many points the winner will earn toward the overall standings.
Best Catch First Round
This event will be split into two rounds. In the first on Thursday, two players from each conference will attempt to make their best catch in a highlight reel video utilizing popular locations around Las Vegas. Fans will then vote online to determine the best catch per conference, with those winners competing on Sunday.
Best Catch Final Round
The two highest vote-getters will compete in front of a panel of judges comprised of celebrities. Similar to the NBA’s Dunk Contest, the pass-catcher with the highest cumulative score will be declared the winner.
This is the classic obstacle course relay race. Two teams made up of six players from each conference will compete side-by-side. The gauntlet has four parts, and the team that finishes first will earn three points for their conference.
Move the Chains
Four total teams, two from each conference, will compete simultaneously in pulling a weighted wall. They have to pull the wall 10 yards as quickly as possible, using first-down chains. There will be three total rounds, and the winner will earn three points toward the overall standings.
Kick Tac Toe
The special teamers get to shine in this event. The punter, kicker and long snapper will compete in a giant game of Tic-Tac-Toe. An enlarged board will be on the field, and players will use their skills to try to get any form of three in a row before the other team. A winner can also be declared if they are able to hit five overall squares regardless of earning tic-tac-toe. The winning squad will earn three points for their conference.