2022 NFL Pro Bowl Reaction
During the two-week period between conference championship weekend and the big game, NFL fans are left longing for any gridiron action to watch.
Fortunately for them, the NFL Pro Bowl is here, featuring the best of the in the game, as voted on by the fans.
The two teams are divided by conference, AFC and NFC, and get to play a thrilling game of “two-hand touch” football. Although the rules don’t directly say players can’t tackle, it’s in all players best interest to avoid injuries by keeping contact at a minimum.
The reward for the winner? Bragging rights and nothing more.
So how’d things go?
For starters, the AFC defeated the NFC, 41-35 in a pretty exciting game. With the lack of tackling, it’s no surprise that the scoreline was a high one.
This didn’t mean the offenses were flawless, though. There were eight combined turnovers, seven total sacks, while the teams went a combined 5-for-20 on fourth-down attempts.
Los Angeles Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert was named the Pro Bowl Offensive MVP with 98 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive end Maxx Crosby won the Pro Bowl Defensive MVP thanks to his two-sack performance.
The game wasn’t the only event last weekend, though. Enter the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown.
This fun-filled competition pits the best of the best from both teams against each other in various different events: Precision Passing, Thread the Needle, Best Catch, Fastest Man and Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball.
In the Precision Passing competition, players have to throw footballs at various targets that are spread out up to 30 yards away, each target coming with a point value. The passers have 60 seconds to get as many points as they can.
Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson mopped the floor for the NFC, putting up 29 points, more than tripling the score of New England Patriots’ quarterback Mac Jones, who managed just eight points.
For the Thread the Needle competition, quarterbacks tried to throw the football through different sized holes in two large walls. The twist with this one is that the opposing team was able to have a defender in front of each wall to try and deflect the passes.
Jones got his redemption this time, managing 12 points throwing against Philadelphia Eagles’ cornerback Darius Slay and Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Trevon Diggs.
The NFC’s Kirk Cousins fell just one point short of Jones. The Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback was shut down effectively by Cleveland Browns’ cornerback Denzel Ward and Los Angeles Chargers’ safety Derwin James.
Next up, the Best Catch competition. This one was the wackiest by far. Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Kansas City Chiefs’ receiver Tyreek Hill represented the AFC, while Trevon Diggs and Minnesota Vikings’ receiver Justin Jefferson represented the NFC.
The players pulled fun stunts to try and create the most impressive catch — Stefon jumped off of a truck onto a folding table, Trevon caught the ball mid somersault, while Hill and Jefferson failed their tricks. It was Trevon that took the win for his acrobatic grab.
Perhaps the most anticipated event was the Fastest Man challenge. Trevon, Hill, Cleveland Browns’ running back Nick Chubb and Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Micah Parsons raced 40 yards to decide who the NFL’s fastest man was.
It was Parsons who ended up outracing everybody, while Hill, the favorite to win, stumbled out of the gates and couldn’t recover.
And finally, the event that really has nothing to do with football: Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball.
It was a simple 7-on-7 dodgeball game between the two teams, with the NFC taking the cake.
The Pro Bowl Skills Showdown aired the night before the Pro Bowl game and easily overshadowed the game itself.
Getting to see some of the NFL’s stars without their pads, doing playground-like events is a treat for every fan. The only downside was the lack of unique players, as some of the same players participated in multiple events.
Nonetheless, as the Pro Bowl game continues to shift to a risk-free, non-contact affair, it’s the Skills Showdown that should become the focus and spotlight of the event moving forward.
Sam Woloson is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.