The Pro Bowl skills competition is back. The NFL has been trying to increase viewer interest in the annual game, and the competition did well last season. It has been expanded a bit for 2018.
“There will be a Pro Bowl skills competition the Thursday before the game,” WEEI’s Ryan Hannable wrote. He then listed these events:
“Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball: Pro Bowlers will compete in a game of dodgeball, with every member of each team participating. The team with the last person on the court wins.
“Kick Tac Toe: A new challenge that tests the accuracy of placekickers from both conferences with a version of the classic game, as they attempt to hit a 3×3 grid of targets inside the uprights.
“Gridiron Gauntlet: Five players from each team will participate in a relay race designed to showcase strength, speed, and agility. Among other surprises, the challenge will include a 40-yard dash with an inflated parachute that is attached to the first player on each team who will sprint before tagging in teammates.
“Best Hands: Four receivers — two from each conference — will catch a series of passes at a sequence of downfield targets as quickly as possible. Designated targets require a specific style of catch — diving, one-handed, over the shoulder, etc. — which must be executed before the receiver can move on to the next target.
“Precision Passing: Each conference’s quarterbacks will battle it out in an accuracy competition, as they attempt to hit targets of varying size and distance.”
“Drone Drop: A bonus event during which one player from each team will attempt to catch footballs dropped from drones from increasing heights above the field. The player who makes the highest catch wins money for the charity of his choice.”
The Pro Bowl itself is a mixed bag. There is no real way to play actual football because no one wants to risk injury. But the skills competition still gives players a chance to show off what they can do, and it could be more entertaining than the game.