NFL announces skills competitions for 2023 Pro Bowl

The NFL has announced its skills competitions for the 2023 Pro Bowl. Per the league:

Taking place over two days in Las Vegas, the skills challenges will be broadcasted live for the first time on Thursday, February 2, on ESPN from 7:00-8:30 PM ET as an epic made-for-tv event, and the competitions will continue Sunday, February 5, throughout the day, along with the first-ever NFL Flag football games. The AFC team will be led by PEYTON MANNING (AFC head coach), RAY LEWIS (AFC defensive coordinator) and DIANA FLORES (AFC offensive coordinator), ELI MANNING (NFC head coach), DEMARCUS WARE (NFC defensive coordinator) and VANITA KROUCH (NFC offensive coordinator).

Taking place at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center, the Las Vegas Raiders’ headquarters and practice facility on Thursday and Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders’ stadium on Sunday.

Here’s a rundown of what you’ll see.

Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball.

(Syndication: Green Bay Press-Gazette)

We’re probably stretching things a bit with the word “epic,” but nonetheless. Here’s how it’ll work.

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 -- Splash Catch.

(Syndication: The Enquirer)

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.

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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.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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.

(Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

Best catch (finale).

(Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

(Syndication: Worcester Telegram)

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.


(Syndication: The Des Moines Register)

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.

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

Cumulative scoring!

(Syndication: The Des Moines Register)

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.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire