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Welcome to the Pro Bowl Games: Inside the NFL’s New Skills Competition

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Learn about the special skills competitions making up the inaugural Pro Bowl Games in 2023, including Best Catch and the four-legged “Gridiron Gauntlet” race.

After the NFL’s Pro Bowl TV ratings hit a 15-year low in 2022, the NFL rebranded its postseason all-star showcase as the “Pro Bowl Games” in September. This week, the league announced what exactly those games will actually be.

The Pro Bowl Games’ skills competitions will take place on Thursday, Feb. 2 and Sunday, Feb. 5 the weekend before Super Bowl LVII. The official slate of events includes competitions known as Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball, the Lightning Round, the Longest Drive, Precision Passing, Best Catch, Girdiron Gauntlet, Kick Tac Toe, and Move the Chains.

In order to drive interest in the 2023 Pro Bowl Games, the league has enlisted a star-studded coaching lineup that will include Peyton Manning (AFC head coach), Eli Manning (NFC Head Coach), Ray Lewis (AFC defensive coordinator), DeMarcus Ware (NFC defensive coordinator) and flag football phenoms Diana Flores (AFC offensive coordinator) and Vanita Krouch (NFC offensive coordinator).

Per the NFL, here’s a breakdown of the scoring system for the Pro Bowl Games:

  • The Pro Bowl Games skills competitions will have cumulative scoring leading up to the Flag football games on Sunday. Scoring for The Pro Bowl Games works in the following way:
  • The winning conference of each skill competition earns three points towards their team’s overall score, with 24 total points available across the eight skills events.
  • The winning conference from each of the first two Flag football games on Sunday will earn six points for their team, for a total of 12 available points.
  • Points from the skills competitions and first two Flag games will be added together and will be the score at the beginning of the third and final Flag game, which will determine the winning conference for The Pro Bowl Games.
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2023 Pro Bowl Games: What Are They & Who’s Competing?

All candidates are subject to change based on postseason outcomes and opt-outs.

Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball

A game of classic dodgeball will see the NFC’s offense face the NFC’s defense and the AFC’s offense face the AFC’s defense in a preliminary round to see who will meet whom in the finals. The winner of the final match earns its conference three points.

  • Candidates: Entire Pro Bowl Roster

Longest Drive

Four players from each conference compete to see who can hit a golf ball the furthest distance off a tee. Each participant will get three atempts and the player that hits the ball the furthest will earn three points for his conference.

Precision Passing

Each conference’s three quarterbacks will compete in a 60-second accuracy contest, throwing footballs in an attempt to hit as many targets as possible. There will be a total of 10 targets that are either standing still or attached to drones or robot dummies. Points for each target will range from 1-10, with the highest point target being 60 yards away.

Best Catch

Two players from each conference will compete in the Best Catch competition meant to showcase not just their hands, but their skill and creativity. Players will perform their best receptions in highlight reels at iconic venues around Las Vegas. Fans will vote online to determine their favorite catch by a player in each conference. Players will the most votes will compete in the final round on Sunday. The final round on Sunday will feature celebrity judges, and the participant with the highest score from that panel will be the winner.

Gridiron Gauntlet

The Gridiron gauntlet will be a relay race that will have the league’s players showcasing their strength, speed, and agility. The race will consist of four legs, with each one covering 40 yards in length. Athletes will climb over walls, traverse under tables, run through rows of tires, and block sleds.

  • Candidates: Entire Pro Bowl roster

Lightning Round

Each conference will select 16 players to compete in a three-part elimination challenge, with two final participants squaring off to earn three points for their conference. The first challenge is called “Splash Catch,” whereby pairs of teammates toss water balloons back and forth at gradually increasing distances. In the second portion, “High Stakes,” players will attempt to catch punts from a JUGS machine. In the final “Thrill of the Spill” challenge, players from each conference will aim at targets attached to a bucket hanging above the head of the opposing conference’s coach.

  • Candidates: Entire Pro Bowl roster

Kick Tac Toe

Six special teamers will compete in a game of tic-tac-toe. The first team to connect a line of three squares or hit five squares will be the winner for their respective conference.

  • Potential candidates: Jason Myers, Justin Tucker, Tress Way, Andrew DePaola, Morgan Cox, Tommy Townsend

Move the Chains

Two teams from each conference (four total) will pull a weighted wall. Each team of five players must pull the wall 10 yards as fast as they can using first-down chains.

  • Candidates: Entire Pro Bowl roster

The Pro Bowl Games will be helped produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, which also produces American Ninja Warrior, Hell’s Kitchen and The Titan Games. The NFL will also work with partners ESPN and Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions to help program the week ahead of the games.

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