Revamped NFL Pro Bowl

This Years NFL Pro Bowl was exiting and different from years past.



Quarterback Geno Smith and the NFC celebrating their win in the first flag football game.

Caleb Pickett, Staff Writer

For decades the NFL Pro bowl has always been the same with the legendary skills challenge then the game but this year they changed the tackle football game into flag football so we can truly see the best of the best trying. With tackle football games players usually use about 50% and just wrapping each other up instead of tackling to prevent everyone from injuries. But this year’s pro bowl was different and honestly way more exciting. 

The NFL turned the whole weekend into a challenge between the AFC and NFC where each skills competition won by each conference was worth three points for that conference. All the skills challenges are team events between the AFC and NFC. Keep in mind the NFC has not won a pro bowl since 2012. Starting off with the precision passing challenge where the AFC blew out the NFC and after Derek Carr was done dominating the challenge, ESPN analyst Ryan Clark asked Carr if he had ever been that hot in Las Vegas, and he replied, “Not that hot. It’s probably why I’m going somewhere else.” 

AFC and NFC battle it out at the 2023 Pro Bowl. The events this year seem to have people more interested than other years. (ESPN )

Right on to the next event called the lightning round where mostly offensive lineman and defensive lineman see how many punts they can catch while holding the other balls they have already caught and then the two players who catch the most compete to see who can throw the ball and hit the target first. Again the AFC dominated this challenge with almost every player catching at least 3 and Trey Hendrickson catching five and being the first player to hit the target and dump confetti on Eli Manning, AFC up by six. 

Now a new skills competition was added this year, the longest drive where they incorporate Golf and see who can hit the longest drive. The event was quite funny to watch as some players couldn’t hit the ball but Jordan Poyer (Safety for the Buffalo Bills) launched the ball 320 yards with his swing and gave the AFC yet another win.

Then we have the most iconic event the Dodgeball challenge started off with each conference going against themselves as the AFC offense faced the AFC defense where the defense came out victorious and will play the winner of the NFC offense vs NFC defense the offense won on a technical rule as Saquan Barkley was hit in the face with an absolute missle from New Orleans Saints Defensive end Cameron Jordan. So NFC offense VS AFC defense, NFC took the game with such easy nature and won them their first event this year. That was it for Thursday 

On Sunday the events started with Best Catch finals, and I’ll spare you from the highlights. Stefon Diggs and Amanra St. Brown gave us a snoozefest for a final. St. Brown won by default after Diggs failed to catch any of his attempts. Then came the first out of three flag football games. It was an absolute thriller coming down to the final play where on 4th and forever, needing a TD to take the lead, Geno Smith hits CeeDee Lamb over the middle and he breaks a couple of tackles and backs his way into the end zone with 12 seconds left!!! The one point conversion is good after a little trickery and a few laterals in the backfield and Smith finds Hockinson to stretch the lead to 6!!

The gridiron gauntlet took place after the first game where the NFC was able to win this event, and continued the comeback by taking the lead in the series. Then came the second flag football game Game 2 went in AFC favor as the AFC takes the 18-12 lead for the weekend going into the final game, after the 18-13 AFC win in the penultimate flag football matchup here from Vegas.

After game 2 it was the big men who went toe to toe in the Move the Chains competition. It didn’t seem like it was going to be that entertaining when it was explained by the league, but it was a trip! The big guys used strength and smarts to get the weights off the wall and quite literally move the chains.

Now for the main event winner of the third flag football game will win the pro bowl, this game was all over the place with high scoring and the teams going back and forth with so interesting plays but in the end of the day the NFC gave Eli Manning the Gatorade bath and the NFC won its first Pro bowl since 2012.