Ratings suggest Pro Bowl Skills Showdown is here to stay

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The NFL tried something a little different before the Pro Bowl this year, with a “Skills Showdown” that allowed players to show what they can do in passing accuracy, catching footballs dropped by drones and even a dodgeball game. The early returns suggest that the Skills Showdown will be back.

The one-hour show aired on ESPN and drew 989,000 viewers, making it ESPN’s most-watched program on Thursday.

With ratings like that, it’s likely that not only will the NFL bring the Skills Showdown back, but that ESPN will move it into a better time slot, perhaps airing it live in prime time and giving it the kind of promotion that ESPN gives Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby.

The Pro Bowl and its associated events never draw the kind of ratings that the NFL gets for regular-season games, but they still draw good enough ratings that the NFL sees no reason to call the whole thing off. If anything, the Skills Showdown shows that the events around Pro Bowl are only going to grow.

13 responses to “Ratings suggest Pro Bowl Skills Showdown is here to stay

  1. Fans have been saying it for years to just have a skills day and that’s it. Get rid of the actual game. If they want more ratings and fans to actually show up to the event, have more fan interaction with the players. Have them go through seminars with position players. Have the players teach fans what it takes day in and day out to get to that level. Fans would PAY money to do that.

  2. The game is awful… expand the skills contest and eliminate the game! Who wants one of their team’s pro-bowl players to suffer an injury in a meaningless exhibition?!

  3. I wish they’d bring back the longest pass competition and bench press competition. Those were two of my favorite things to watch as a kid, and I can still remember Randall Cunningham uncorking an 80 yard pass and Larry Allen throwing up 40 something reps of 225 and only stopping because he got bored. Throw in a longest field goal competition too, sounds like the guys already made that part of practice.

  4. Agreed with the previous comments on here. Kill the game, and just have a weekend of skills competitions and fan/player interaction.

    The actual game itself has less meaning than a week 3 preseason game, and has the same amount of injury risk

  5. I’m with you Rowdystiller. I recall Drew Brees knocking out the competition in the QB accuracy contest, when he was still a Charger. He owned that contest. Afterward they interviewed Manning and he said “well Drew set the bar kinda high there.”

  6. I would LOVE to see a format similar to the old “Battle of the Network Stars” from the late 70’s – mid 80’s.

    Swimming, volleyball, tug of war, bowling, obstacle course, maybe archery, and keep the dodge ball. Would be more entertaining then the rest of it.

  7. minson15 says:
    Jan 30, 2017 3:24 PM

    Fans have been saying it for years to just have a skills day and that’s it. Get rid of the actual game. If they want more ratings and fans to actually show up to the event, have more fan interaction with the players. Have them go through seminars with position players. Have the players teach fans what it takes day in and day out to get to that level. Fans would PAY money to do that.
    =================================
    and yet the Pro Bowl was sold out this year.

  8. The pro bowl, I believe is to recognize the best players in the league. The festivities are held a week before the super bowl. Some of the best players couldn’t be a part of it if they wanted to be. Doesn’t make any sense to me.

  9. They need to add a competition where the AFC kicker and the NFC kicker play a game of P-I-G or H-O-R-S-E (like you do in basketball. Then just add a point to the winners conference

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