The 2023 Pro Bowl has been reimagined as a Skills Challenge and will take place during a two-day event in Las Vegas. Head coaches Peyton and Eli Manning unveiled who will be taking part in specific skills competitions for their respective AFC and NFC squads on Wednesday's Pro Bowl Games Selection Show.
The all-star competition and inaugural approach to the Pro Bowl kicks off on Thursday night on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET with five skills challenges pitting AFC players against those from the NFC. The exhibition will conclude on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, highlighted by a trio of seven-on-seven AFC-NFC flag football games at Allegiant Stadium on ABC and ESPN.
Players voted to the Pro Bowl Games from the two Super Bowl 57 teams — the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles — will not be participating in the Pro Bowl. The NFC champion Eagles had a league-leading eight players voted to the Pro Bowl, while the AFC champion Chiefs had seven.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, standout offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs will be in attendance. He was selected for the second time in his three NFL seasons. Wirfs first made the Pro Bowl last season while also being named to the Associated Press All-Pro first team.
Wirfs, the 13th-overall selection in the 2020 draft, has played in and started 46 games over the past three seasons. A starter since the first game of his rookie season, Wirfs quickly developed into one of the most dominant blockers in the NFL. Last year, he and San Francisco's Trent Williams were the top two vote-getters among all NFL tackles in All-Pro balloting. In 2022, Wirfs once again became the anchor of the line, bolstering the unit around Tom Brady.
In this year's all-star challenge, Wirfs will participate in two challenges: Lightning Round (Thursday) and the Gridiron Gauntlet (Sunday). The Lightning Round will feature 16 players participating in a three-part elimination tournament with one player left standing at the conclusion of the event to earn three points for his respective conference. Round One features a water balloon toss, Round Two consists of players catching punts from a JUGS machine and Round Three (championship round) will feature the remaining players aiming at targets attached to a bucket. The bucket will hang above the head of an opposing conference's coach.
The Gridiron Gauntlet encompasses six players from each conference competing in a side-by-side, 40-yard relay race that includes breakaway walls, a section of climbing over walls and under tables, a tire run and pushing a blocking sled with a coach upon it. The race will highlight speed and agility.