The first year that I became invested in the NFL and as a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan was during the 2001 season. One of the things I remember either during that season or the following season was a Pro Bowl skills competition involving quarterbacks competing in various tasks, such as hitting moving targets from various distances.
The skills competition was very entertaining to watch — much more so than the Pro Bowl games we’ve seen over the years, where the players don’t care much about the game and you don’t want anyone to get hurt. For years, I thought the league should try to shift the Pro Bowl to focusing on light-hearted competitions, but instead we just kept getting the game over and over again. That changes tomorrow, as the league brings back the skills competition in full force. There will also be no traditional Pro Bowl game.
Here is a reader’s digest of what you can expect to see from in and outside of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, with several members of the Browns involved. The Browns players who will be taking part include RB Nick Chubb, OG Joel Bitonio, OG Wyatt Teller, and DE Myles Garrett.
Thursday, February 2nd
It’s not just groundhog day — the NFL will kick off the Pro Bowl with live skills challenges on ESPN from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM ET. They will be held at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center, which is the Raiders’ practice field that is just outside the stadium. These are the competitions that are scheduled to take place, and you can read more details on each event here:
- Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball: In the first round, it’ll be the AFC offense vs. the AFC defense. The NFC will have their own respective battle. The AFC winner will square off against the NFC winner. Peyton Manning likes the thought of DE Myles Garrett and RB Nick Chubb throwing heaters during the game:
- Lightning Round: This is a three-round contest involving tossing water balloons, catching punts from a JUGGS machine, and trying to hit a target to splash water on an opposing coach.
- Longest Drive: Four players from each conference will get to drive a golf ball on a tee three times, trying to see who gets the longest distance.
- Precision Passing: This is the quarterback accuracy component that I loved back in the day. It may not be exactly like this, but it’ll be similar. I don’t expect Tyler Huntley to be the most accurate.
- Best Catch (Part 1): This will be like the dunk contest, where players will try to use creativity to come up with a talented catch around iconic venues in Las Vegas. I assume this one will be filmed prior to the event; fans will vote on the best highlight.
Sunday, February 5th
Part 2 of the Pro Bowl takes place on Sunday from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM inside of Allegiant Stadium. It will be broadcast on ESPN and ABC. Sunday’s events include:
- Best Catch (Part 2): The two finalists will perform in front of celebrity judges.
- Gridiron Gauntlet: This will be a side-by-side race in the 40-yard dash, although there will be other components involved, such as breakaway walls, climbing walls, going under tables, a tire run, and a blocking sled.
- Kick Tac Toe: The kicker, punter, and long snapper will be playing tic-tac-toe, presumably using their legs and snapping ability.
- Move The Chains: This competition involves strength involving a weighted wall pull.
There will also be three 7-on-7 flag football games. Each competition, and the flag football game, will award points to the winners, and the cumulative points will be tallied to determine who wins between the AFC and the NFC.