Skills Showdown Makes the Pro Bowl Fun Again

The Pro Bowl is fun again, thanks to the return of the SkillS Showdown.

It’s safe to say that for many years, the Pro Bowl was the subject of a lot more jokes and ridicule than excitement. There aren’t many people who actively look forward to the Pro Bowl game—it’s low-quality, uninteresting football, a throwaway event before the biggest game of the season (or after, in the way the game used to be scheduled).

However, the return of the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown has made the Pro Bowl fun again. Seeing some of the best football players in the world out of their pads and with their helmets off participating in these occasionally ridiculous challenges and being able to see them interact with each other outside of a highly competitive environment is a blast. And seeing these guys having so much fun leading up to the game actually makes the game itself more palatable, even enjoyable.

Audiences seemed to agree, as the ratings for the Pro Bowl were up by 28 percent this year.

Here are just a few of my favorite moments from the last week, courtesy of the Skills Showdown.

Keenan Allen’s awful hands performance

There’s so much hilarity crammed into this single two-minute video. Allen failing over and over again to catch a ball with one hand. Tripping and belly flopping on to the mat. Being body-splashed by Davante Adams. Then, best of all, being forced to go back and finish the challenge while Sean McDonough calls his performance “courageous along the lines of Willis Reed.”

Casey Hayward argues with Jalen Ramsey about who’s the best CB in the NFL

There are a couple reasons I love this clip. One, it is eerily similar to arguments that play out on NFL forums and fan sites across the internet—and it’s actual NFL players engaged in it! It also highlights the competitiveness of great NFL players. These guys truly believe that they are the best, and it keeps them motivated. It’s also a pretty great example of stereotypical defensive back ego.

Pro bowl dodgeball

There’s just something really novel about watching some of the best athletes in the world play a child’s playground game—and take it really seriously. Sean McDonough’s commentary is also hilarious at times. Matt Hasselbeck busts out some dodgeball knowledge, and McDonough says, “Your preparation is as epic as this match.” Later, Hasselbeck brings out the “five Ds” of Dodgeball, as made famous by the early-2000s Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn comedy.  

Trick shot video with Davante Adams, Todd Gurley and Mark Ingram

This “cheeseball trick shot” video is a hilarious parody of a lot of those viral YouTube “trick shot” videos you see, but manages to be a lot more fun because it’s not taking itself at all seriously. This is exactly the kind of stuff that’s made the Pro Bowl much more fun over the last couple years—the stuff outside of the game that shows the league’s best players getting together and just having fun.

Drew Brees’s sons fighting on the sidelines

The above link contains a few funny bits from the Pro Bowl, but one of my favorite parts of the game itself was the Drew Brees sideline interview, in which one of his sons talks about his favorite parts of being at the event, while the other two boys are hitting and wrestling each other, just at the edge of the picture. Brees’s obvious exasperation is pretty great.

 

Hopefully the NFL continues to make fun a priority with Pro Bowl weekend, because it’s a lot more fun to watch when nobody is taking it too seriously.

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (9)

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TheVOR's picture

January 30, 2018 at 05:47 pm

Still can't believe they allowed Casey Hayward to leave GB. That was like the Eagles losing Al Harris to GB once upon a time. Real head scratcher, met Casey this year, nice young man! What a loss.

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4thand1's picture

January 30, 2018 at 06:23 pm

Yeah, but we saved so much money.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

January 31, 2018 at 11:32 am

Is that you, Ted?

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nigrivasilayesrej's picture

January 30, 2018 at 07:17 pm

I just puked a little in my mouth.

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John Kirk's picture

January 31, 2018 at 12:30 am

If you want to projectile, consider he was let go because we were "set" with Damarious and Quinten. That's losing 3 ways.

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JerseyAl's picture

January 30, 2018 at 09:32 pm

pure evil...

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John Kirk's picture

January 31, 2018 at 12:51 am

Shoot, Sorry, Al...It should've been losing 4 ways. I neglected to consider we needed to burn another high pick to replace Hayward after the other two high picks couldn't get it done.

1) Lose Hayward
2) Believe Randall as a 1st overall is a fix to his departure
3) Believe if Randall isn't a fix, our 2nd in Rollins would be
4) After figuring out that we were wrong to let Casey leave for peanuts, and Damarious and Quinten weren't good enough, we had to burn another top selection on Kevin King, who, to me, looks like another swing and a miss.

By the time this is all over, we may be 5 or 6 moves in the red on this whole thing. It is really troubling and any GM who orchestrated such a chain of events should've been run out of town. Here, he gets moved to a role where the new guy says he'll rely on him heavily. Only in Green Bay!

Here come the dry heaves for me...

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Handsback's picture

January 31, 2018 at 07:41 am

Wait a minute....there was a Pro Bowl?

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rdent's picture

January 31, 2018 at 10:10 am

Sorry, there is nothing fun about the Pro Bowl and staging a sideshow does not change the fact that the Pro Bowl game itself is merely a touch football game that pays it's players to participate in.

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