Every year I hear people badmouth the Pro Bowl and frankly I’m kinda sick of it. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to watch it, because of the poor tackling, the sloppy football, or the lack of competitiveness. However nobody realizes that the purpose for this game is for fun. Especially because of the skills showdown, I don’t think the event gets the recognition it deserves. Here’s a description, who won, and my thoughts on each event in the skills showdown.
Kick Tac Toe
This event is exactly what you’d imagine, the two kickers from their respective conference playing tick tac toe on the uprights. The first kicker to get 3 in a row or have the most at the end of the event wins. The NFC’s Graham Gano took the win in this one over Chris Boswell giving the NFC 1 point in the showdown. I think this particular game is cool because it showcases one of the less glamorized positions in the NFL in the kicker. Kickers don’t get a lot of credit and they take a lot of blame throughout the year so it’s nice to see them getting the spotlight here.
This event is also pretty straight forward. Two receivers from each conference attempt to make certain types of catches (diving, sideline, one handed, etc…) as fast as possible. Michael Thomas won this one for the NFC with a time of 1 minute and 2 seconds giving the NFC another point. The best hands competition is one of my favorites because I enjoy seeing clean catches as I’m sure most of you also do.
The “Gauntlet” is just a creative relay race featuring the first player on each team attached to a parachute. The NFC took the point on this one beating the AFC squad by 10 full seconds on their final time. This event isn’t exactly that great but it’s still nice to see the two teams competing in different ways.
The Drone Drop involves one player from each team to catch footballs dropped from a drone at increasing heights, the player to catch the longest dropped ball wins. Jarvis Landry of the AFC took this one over Patrick Peterson with a catch from 120 feet in the air. I think this event showcases a specific talent in regards to punt catching. The punters in the NFL can really send footballs into the air and it’s difficult to track and hang on to some of these punts.
The precision passing competition is the oldest one in the books. Two quarterbacks in each conference compete by aiming for targets to accumulate points. The results were as follows: Derek Carr 21, Jared Goff 20, Alex Smith 11, Russell Wilson 8. The AFC took the point on this one. This competition is textbook for a Pro Bowl and personally I enjoy watching some of the best quarterbacks in the league go at it in terms of precision passing.
Pro Bowl Dodgeball
I’m sure I don’t have to explain this event but I will anyway for those of you who don’t know the game of dodgeball. Each team tries to hit the other teams players with dodgeballs in order to eliminate them from the game. If you catch a ball the player who threw it is eliminated and you are still in. The team who eliminates all the other teams players first wins the game. The AFC took the win here on the back of Jarvis Landry who’s game clinching catch eliminated Graham Gano in a one on one situation. This is your typical gym class dodgeball game between some of the best athletes in the NFL and it’s very enjoyable to watch. This is my absolute favorite event in the skills competition because who doesn’t enjoy a good game of dodgeball?
Ultimately it was the AFC taking it all with a score of 4-3, giving them the edge going into the actual Pro Bowl game the next day. Overall the skills showdown is an interesting event that I do believe deserves more recognition.
Written By: Jon Tetreault ( @jtetreault13 )