The NFL Pro Bowl's TV ratings have been slipping for years. In 2017, the game will also feature a multi-day skills challenge that includes dodgeball.
The NFL announced the new plans on Monday. The new Pro Bowl Week will also include a "Power Relay Challenge," a "Precision Passing" challenge (hitting moving targets) and a "Best Hands" challenge (catching as many passes as possible in a limited time).
The games will be produced by A.Smith & Co., the company that also produces American Ninja Warrior.
But let's be honest: We're all here for "Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball."
NFL returns skills competition at the Pro Bowl. Smart.— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) December 12, 2016
Skills like "Precision Passing" and "Best Hands." Smarter.
AND Dodgeball! Smartest.
The changes were pretty well-received.
Precedent in other leagues
Other leagues have long had skill challenges at their all-star games one way or another. The MLB has had a Home Run Derby since 1985. The NBA has had a dunking contest since 1984 and three-point shooting contest since 1986.
The NHL has outdone them all in terms of sheer quantity, including challenges for the fastest skater, a "breakaway challenge," a precision shooting challenge, a hybrid skills challenge and relay, a fastest shot challenge and a shootout challenge.
Of course, the fear of injuries that made the Pro Bowl a little boring still lingers.
But the dodgeball game might draw in some long-lost viewers.
Dodgeball is cool, but I think the Relay Race will steal the show at the NFL Pro bowl Skills Challenge.— ☞Chukii🇩🇴☜ (@JustChukii) December 13, 2016
Though perhaps another event will steal its thunder.
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