The Pro Bowl Skills Showdown was a fun event when it came back last year, and things were no different in 2018. The AFC team came up with the victory after a huge comeback in the winner-take-all dodgeball game, with Jarvis Landry surviving a 2-on-1 handicap to win bragging rights for his conference. The NFC had the lead for most of the showdown, but the AFC made a valiant effort in the end.
There were a few new events this year, most notably the kicking game Kick Tac Toe that was won by Graham Gano. But for the most part, it was an enjoyable spectacle, and sure to be more entertaining than the actual Pro Bowl on Sunday.
Final score: AFC 4, NFC 3
Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball results: The AFC lost another member the next round when Von Miller and Chris Boswell were knocked out. Eventually the team was down to Jarvis Landry and Round 2 ended with the NFC having a 2-1 advantage. Landry eliminated Mike Daniels and it became a one-on-one show against Graham Gano. He finished an epic comeback for his team by catching a ball, getting the win for the AFC team.
Alex Smith was immediately eliminated at the start, which might be his most Alex Smith moment yet.
Kick Tac Toe results: Chris Boswell represented the AFC and Graham Gano the NFC. Boswell missed his first two attempts and Gano took the win, giving the NFC a 3-1 lead. That sets up the dodgeball game as winner-take-all.
Best Hands results: Michael Thomas went next for the NFC and beat Adams’ time with 1:02 minutes. Next up for the AFC was Jarvis Landry, who couldn’t beat Thomas’ time when he failed to make a diving catch at the end. The NFC got another point with the win here.
Davante Adams started off the Best Hans drill for his NFC team, completing it in 1:16.2 minutes.
Keenan Allen represented the AFC team, catching passes from Alex Smith. He never came close to beating Adams’ time, though, and didn’t even finish the drill
Gridiron Gauntlet results: The NFC team featured Ryan Kerrigan, Patrick Peterson, Mike Daniels, Kwon Alexander, and Alvin Kamara. They smashed the AFC’s time with 50.0 seconds.
The AFC went first in the Gridiron Gauntlet, repped by Jalen Ramsey, C.J. Mosley, Geno Atkins, Von Miller, and Kareem Hunt. They completed the obstacle course in 1:00.6 minutes.
Drone Drop results: Jarvis Landry somehow caught a ball from 120 feet high that bounced off his chest. He picked up the win over Patrick Peterson, who failed to make a catch from 130 feet.
Precision Passing results: Derek Carr 21, Jared Goff 20, Alex Smith 11, Russell Wilson 8
Russell Wilson tried hitting the high-score targets, but missed on nearly all of them and finished with just eight points. Alex Smith wasn’t much better with only 11, and the NFC took the victory.
Jared Goff got started off with the Precision Passing drill and got 20 points to set the pace. Derek Carr just barely beat him with 21.
Before the show
Throughout the years, the Pro Bowl itself has continually disappointed, and it’s easy to see why. Many top players just aren’t interested in participating, and what happens on the field can hardly be classified as football. Unfortunately, with football being such a high-speed and physical game where players get hurt all the time, it would be silly for an exhibition game to be that competitive.
Enter the Skills Showdown, which will be happening for the second consecutive year after the league brought it back in 2017. It was a great time that many enjoyed, and hopefully, this year’s action will be just as good.
You can follow along in this post with highlights and news from the events, which will include things like dodgeball, an event where a football is dropped from a drone and players try to catch it, a kicking accuracy event where specific targets between the goal posts must be hit, a relay race, and of course, a precision-passing contest.
Pro Bowl Skills Showdown competitions:
Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball: Pro Bowlers will compete in a game of dodgeball, of course!
Kick Tac Toe: Kickers will try and hit a 3x3 grid of targets inside the uprights.
Gridiron Gauntlet: Five players from each team participate in a relay race, which promises a 40-yard dash with an inflated parachute and “other surprises.”
Best Hands: Four receivers will catch a series of passes at a sequence of downfield targets as quickly as possible. There are specific types of catches required — diving, one-handed, over the shoulder, and others.
Precision Passing: Quarterbacks will try to hit various targets from various distances. In the past, one aspect of this was trying to throw a football through a hoop quite a ways away.
Drone drop: One player from each team will attempt to catch footballs dropped from drones from increasing heights above the field. This may not sound that hard, but if you’re directly under the drone and it gets high enough up there, tracking the trajectory gets progressively more difficult.