NFL

NFL Pro Bowl Skills Showdown: Ranking 5 events best to worst

The Pro Bowl Skills Showdown is easily the most exciting thing happening before Super Bowl week kicks off. There are five awesome events now, but some are way more fun than others. We rank them from best to worst.

This weekend is the Pro Bowl. No one cares about the Pro Bowl. However, for the third year running, AFC and NFC stars will compete in inane competitions days before the actual Pro Bowl game is played! These are what the fans actually want. For years, the NFL sagged behind its American sport counterparts because it had no additions to the All-Star format. There was no home run derby or fastest skater. That has all changed.

This year, the Pro Bowl skills showdown takes place on Wednesday, January 23, airing on television on Thursday the 24th. There are five contests that players will compete in for the glory of their conference.

1) 40 Yard Splash – Players race to fill up a dunk tank and splash an opposing team member

2) Gridiron Gauntlet – Obstacle course relay race involving five players from each squad

3) Best Hands – Specific catches in specific spots by WR-QB duos in a timed relay race

4) Precision Passing – Accuracy competition between two QBs and one non-QB from each side

5) “Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball” – Best of three series between every player from each conference

Since we are looking forward to all five of these showdowns more than the game itself, where does our excitement stand on each one? Let’s rank the Pro Bowl Skills showdown from best to worst!

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, debate the Pro Bowl Skill Showdown in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

Todd Salem:

Gridiron Gauntlet sounds like a standard relay. This, to me, is the lowest on the excitement scale. It reminds me of the skills shootout they do at NBA All-Star weekend where players dribble around little cones and shoot jumpers. At least in that they twist it by having point guards face off against big men. Maybe if linemen were challenging quarterbacks and kickers this would have some more gusto.

I need to see 40-Yard Splash in action before I know if it’s awesome and hilarious or moderately entertaining and silly. Even still, my interest has been piqued. Does the opposing conference choose who they want to dunk? Does your own team choose a dunkee/dunce? How does the water get transported and from where?

Best Hands and Precision Passing are both prototypical football competitions and are of peak interest level. PP gets the slight nod for me for throwing in a quirk of having non-QBs partake. Who is the most accurate non-quarterback? I’m hooked and have no idea who teams will choose for that spot.

The best of the best remains the dodgeball game. We find out which players have the best strategy and/or combination of arm strength, accuracy, and catching ability. It seems like the perfect conglomeration for offensive skills players to showcase their talents, and yet we always see surprises too, like when Graham Gano was trying to take down the AFC on his own.

Dan Salem:

I can’t believe I forgot about the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown! You just made my pre-Super Bowl week by reminding me there is something awesome that is football related, rather than just the ho-hum Pro Bowl.

The only thing missing from the event are kicking competitions. I would love to watch Saquon Barkley kick field goals and see just how strong those massive thighs actually are! Punt, Pass and Kick here we come, because that is what is slowly replacing the Pro Bowl itself. Why play the game? Everyone loves the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown!

There is no competition when it comes to the best event. “Dodgeball” is amazing and can only be topped by a tug-of-war, which has yet to be added, despite my continued recommendations to the contrary!

Name two captains and let them pick teams for tug-of-war and dodgeball, or keep it AFC versus NFC and just add the best event not taking place. It would truly give the lineman a chance in the spotlight, because its hard to imagine anyone not weighing 300 pounds participating in the tug-of-war.

The “40-yard splash” ranks second, because I too have no idea how amazing this might be. The likelihood of it being super funny and a mess of water is rather high, with low letdown potential. The “Best Hands” competition is next. I love crazy catches. Then comes “Precision Passing” which probably won’t be as funny as you think. The non-quarterback competitors will still be good.

Finally, my excitement level concludes with “Gridiron Gauntlet” because this is the most straightforward event of all. This is not to say there won’t be a solid competition, but its still a relay race. Its no Ninja Warrior obstacle course that I know of, so it’s last on the list this year among our Pro Bowl Skills Showdown events.