Pro Bowl Skills Showdown 2018 Will Eclipse Game Itself

The Pro Bowl Skills Showdown was damn cool, but version 2.0 will eclipse the Pro Bowl game itself. Bigger and badder events, plus NFL tug-of-war!

Apparently, supposedly, reportedly, possibly, the Pro Bowl was good. We can’t speak to that. We don’t watch a second of the Pro Bowl and don’t plan on starting. However, good for it. Now, how about that Pro Bowl Skills Showdown!?

Last week, leading up to the Pro Bowl game itself, the NFL held a skills challenge between the conferences. The event was new, interesting and, dare we say, fun. We wouldn’t mind at all if this event and things like it took the place of the game moving forward. We don’t need the game and version 2.0 of the Skills Showdown will completely eclipse it. What we do need are NFL players playing dodgeball.

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

Todd Salem:

Dodgeball was just one of the new things that the league implemented to add some interest into the Pro Bowl festivities. There were catching challenges, precision passing games, obstacles courses, and drone drops. The NHL All-Star Weekend overlapped with the NFL’s version this year, and for the first time I can ever remember, the NFL’s event seemed to be more fun.

The players, specifically Odell Beckham Jr., were having a blast, and the competition seemed legitimate. Recaps indicate that the same thing took place during the Pro Bowl itself. That’s refreshing to hear, but I am more concerned about the future of the skills showdown.

What can be added to this next year to make it even better? I would like to see NFL players play kickball. I want a javelin-throwing competition. Give me a car-pulling race between linemen.

These ideas are brilliant, I know. But why stop there? The problem with football all-star games is the sport doesn’t lend itself to taking it easy and having fun. Other sports do, though! So why not have the best football players in the world play other sports? Show me a slam dunk contest and home run derby between the NFL Pro Bowlers. Where is the downside of this? Dodgeball was just the beginning. It was an amazing start, but it’s time to kick things up a notch.

Dan Salem:

The Pro Bowl Skills Showdown was a resounding success… as far as all-star festivities are concerned. People liked it. I liked it and its here to stay. But you asked the right question; how can we make this event even cooler, and why play the Pro Bowl game at all?

There is a way the skills showdown can replace the Pro Bowl game itself, but only if the NFL turns it into an all-out “Field Day” style competition between the AFC and NFC. This way there can be an actual winner between the conferences and every Pro Bowl player gets to participate in a minimum of three skills showdowns. We’d need showdowns specific to each position, like a car pulling competition as you noted.

But ultimately every “Field Day” ends with the entire compliment of both teams going head to head in a tug-of-war for ultimate bragging rights. Or perhaps several rounds of the tug, going 11-on-11 with offense then defense. Either way, this is amazing!

Our improved Pro Bowl Skills Showdown must have a relay race and a free-throw shooting competition as well. I’m also partial to the three legged race, but I could concede a few classic events. We must keep this fun, while minimizing injury and maximizing a player’s competitive fire. I loved the drone drop, but we can do so much more. Why not add in a Madden football competition? Or actually pull challenges from Madden and put the real players to the test? The video game is full of great showdowns!

I’m thrilled that the NFL has gotten on track with the Pro Bowl. It has the most exciting athletes in the world and the opportunity for them to show us who they really are, or aren’t. We watch them throw and catch for seventeen weeks, so asking them to compete elsewhere is brilliant!

This article originally appeared on