NFL Announces Details for 2023 Pro Bowl Games

The Pro Bowl has been dead for years, but that might change this year. The NFL has done away with the traditional game and gone the way of skills competitions this year. To me, this is great! The skills competitions were always my favorite part of the NFL Pro Bowl weekend. It allowed me to zero in on some of my favorite players without the need to watch the antiquated exhibition game.

Here’s what this year’s events at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will look like and how you can watch them!

Thursday February 2, 2023 – 6:00 PM CT on ESPN/ESPN 2

Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball

A multi-round tournament of classic dodgeball featuring four teams of five players that begins with the offenses and defenses from both conferences squaring off and culminates in an AFC vs. NFC showdown.

In the first match, the AFC offense will face the AFC defense to determine the AFC winner. In the second game, the NFC offense squares off with the NFC defense to determine the NFC winner. In the finales, the AFC winner and NFC winner meet to determine which conference will earn three points.

Lightning Round

New this year, each conference will select 16 players to compete in a three-part elimination
challenge that will leave one player left at the end to earn three points for his conference. In the first event, “Lightning Round – Splash Catch,” teammate pairings from each conference will toss water balloons back and forth from increasing distances. Each tandem that completes all of their tosses advances to the second phase. In part two, “Lightning Round – High Stakes,” advancing players will attempt to catch punts from a JUGS machine to earn a place representing their conference in the final round of the competition. In the final part of the challenge, “Lightning Round – Thrill of the Spill,” the remaining players from each conference will aim at targets attached to a bucket hanging above the head of an opposing conference’s coach. The first team to dump the bucket on the opposing coach wins and earns three points for his conference.

Longest Drive

Four players from each conference will compete in a challenge to drive a golf ball the furthest distance off a tee. Each player will get three swings and the player that drives the furthest within the boundaries on each side of the fairway will win three points for his conference.

Precision Passing

Each of the conference’s three quarterbacks will battle it out in a one-minute accuracy competition, as they attempt to accumulate points by hitting as many targets as possible. The quarterback with the highest individual score among all participants is the winner and earns three points for his conference. There are a total of 10 targets that are either static or attached to robotic dummies and drones, each worth a different amount, ranging from one to five points. There is also a Long Toss Bucket 60 yards away that is worth 10 points.

Best Catch

(First Round): Two players from each conference will compete in a best catch competition, showing off their creativity, inventiveness and talent. In the first round on Thursday, the players will showcase their best receptions in highlight reels shot at iconic venues around Las Vegas. Fans will vote online to determine their favorite catch by a player in each conference, and the players with the highest votes will compete in the finals on Sunday.

Sunday February 5, 2023 – 2:00 PM CT on ESPN/ABC

Best Catch (Finale)

On Sunday, the top vote getters from each conference will compete head-to-head, as they perform in front of panel of celebrity judges. The pass-catcher who accumulates the highest score from the judges will be determined the winner.

Gridiron Gauntlet

A side-by-side relay race showcasing strength, speed and agility, six players from each conference will compete to see who finishes first and wins three points for his team. The four-part Gauntlet, each segment 40-yards in length, includes a series of breakaway walls, a section of climbing over walls and under tables, a tire run and a blocking sled carrying a Legend coach across the finish line.

Kick Tac Toe

Each team’s kicker, punter and long snapper compete in a giant Tic-Tac-Toe competition to showcase their respective skills. The first team to complete a connecting line of three squares or hit five squares total will be declared the winner and earn three points for his conference.

Move The Chains

Four teams (two teams from each conference) will compete side by side in a weighted wall pull that will showcase their strength, speed and ingenuity. Each team of five players is responsible for pulling a wall, loaded up with heavy weights, 10-yards as quickly as possible using first-down chains. The winner of the best-of-three playoff will earn three points for their conference.

But the skills competitions aren’t just for the sake of skills competitions, even though they sound awesome. The winning conference of each competition will earn three points towards their team’s score in the flag football games on Sunday evening with 24 total points being available to be awarded.

There will be a total of three flag football games with points from the first two games being added to the scores of each conference in the third and final game.

Personally, I’m pumped. I haven’t had an interest in the Pro Bowl in years. And even if this turns out to be a dud, it’s enough of a fundamental change to get me excited for this year’s events!

written by

Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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