The 2023 Pro Bowl is going to be a little different than normal years. Not only has the actual game been eliminated, but in its place, the NFL has put a series of skills events in the hope to revitalize a game most had stopped caring about. It is also now a two-day event. The first set of competitions will be on Thursday night, and the entire event will conclude on Sunday afternoon.
Now that the rosters have been set with the alternates stepping in for injured and Super Bowl players, the Detroit Lions are left standing with four representatives at the games. On Wednesday, the NFL announced which players will be competing in each event.
So let’s go over each competition that will involve the Lions and explain what their event is.
Thursday, February 2 — 7-8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Lightning Round — Frank Ragnow + Penei Sewell
The Lightning Round is a three-event elimination challenge consisting of 20 players from each conference. Each player that “survives” an event moves onto the next event, and the challenge will continue until there is just one player left. The full list of competitors is here.
What are the events? Here’s how the NFL describes them:
In the first event, “Lightning Round — Splash Catch,” teammate pairings from each conference will toss water balloons back and forth from increasing distances. Each tandem that completes all of their tosses advances to the second phase. In part two, “Lightning Round — High Stakes,” advancing players will attempt to catch punts from a JUGS machine to earn a place representing their conference in the final round of the competition. In the final part of the challenge, “Lightning Round — Thrill of the Spill,” the remaining players from each conference will aim at targets attached to a bucket hanging above the head of an opposing conference’s coach. The first team to dump the bucket on the opposing coach wins and earns three points for his conference.
Precision Passing — Jared Goff
The NFL is continuing one of their best competitions from years past. You can view previous Precision Passing events here. Basically, quarterbacks accumulate points by hitting moving and stationary targets of differing point values.
Here are the six competitors for the event:
- Trevor Lawrence
- Tyler Huntley
- Derek Carr
- Kirk Cousins
- Geno Smith
- Jared Goff
Best Catch — Amon-Ra St. Brown
The “Best Catch” event basically works the exact same as the NBA’s dunk contest. Here’s the NFL’s explanation:
“Two players from each conference will compete in a best catch competition, showing off their creativity, inventiveness and talent.”
Fans will vote on their favorite catches on Thursday night, and the winners will advance to the next round, which takes place on Sunday, February 5.
There are a total of four competitors for this event:
- Patrick Surtain
- Stefon Diggs
- Amon-Ra St. Brown
- Justin Jefferson
Sunday, February 5 — 3-6 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
Gridiron Gauntlet — Penei Sewell
The Gridiron Gauntlet is basically one, big relay race featuring six players from each conference. Here are the teams:
- Joel Bitonio
- Myles Garrett
- Nick Chubb
- Cameron Heyward
- Dion Dawkins
- Penei Sewell
- Brian Burns
- Saquon Barkley
- Tristan Wirfs
- Cameron Jordan
Move the Chains — Frank Ragnow
I’ll be honest, I can’t really picture what this event is based on the description, but here it is:
Four teams (two teams from each conference) will compete side by side in a weighted wall pull that will showcase their strength, speed and ingenuity. Each team of five players is responsible for pulling a wall, loaded up with heavy weights, 10-yards as quickly as possible using first-down chains. The winner of the best-of-three playoff will earn three points for their conference.
Ragnow’s team includes Jonathan Allen, Chris Lindstrom, Trent Williams and Demarcus Lawrence.
Goff and St. Brown are also set to participate in the flag football game on Sunday, but because there are no offensive or defensive lines in the game, Sewell and Ragnow will not.