NFL Pro Bowl Skills Showdown 2020: Results, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 24, 2020

AFC wide receiver Jarvis Landry, of the Cleveland Browns, catches a pass during a practice for the NFL Pro Bowl football game Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The AFC took home the 2020 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Bay Lake, Florida, on Thursday by a 5-2 score over the NFC.

The two teams of 10 participated in five different skills competitions: Precision Passing, Gridiron Gauntlet, Best Hands, Thread the Needle and Dodgeball.

Each competition was worth one point with the exception of the three-point dodgeball finale.

Here's a look at an event recap, explanations of the events, some highlights and the format.



Legend Captains: DE Bruce Smith (Buffalo Bills) and RB Terrell Davis (Denver Broncos)

QB: Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) and Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans)

RB: Nick Chubb (Cleveland Browns)

WR: Jarvis Landry (Cleveland Browns)

TE: Mark Andrews (Baltimore Ravens)

OL: Quenton Nelson (Indianapolis Colts)

DL: Cameron Heyward (Pittsburgh Steelers)

LB: Von Miller (Denver Broncos)

DB: Minkah Fitzpatrick (Pittsburgh Steelers), Stephon Gilmore (New England Patriots)



Legend Captains: DB Darrell Green (Washington Redskins) and QB Michael Vick (Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles)

QB: Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) and Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)

RB: Dalvin Cook (Minnesota Vikings)

WR: Davante Adams (Green Bay Packers) and Cordarrelle Patterson (Chicago Bears)

DL: Cameron Jordan (New Orleans Saints)

LB: Shaquille Barrett (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Jaylon Smith (Dallas Cowboys)

DB: Darius Slay (Detroit Lions) and Eddie Jackson (Chicago Bears)


Precision Passing 

Four quarterbacks (and two non-quarterbacks) engaged in a passing accuracy competition in which each player accrued as many points as possible in one minute by hitting targets with designated point totals from one (easiest) through five (hardest).

The NFC's trio dominated 43-17 behind 37 combined points from Seattle Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Green Bay Packers wideout Davante Adams was the NFC's non-quarterback entry and finished with six.

An aggressive approach worked for Cousins and Wilson, with the latter player earning valuable rewards for big risks.

ESPN's Pat McAfee shoutout out Cousins' accuracy:

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson paced the AFC with nine points. Baltimore Ravens signal-caller and likely NFL MVP Lamar Jackson struggled with just two. Cleveland Browns wideout Jarvis Landry rounded out the group with six.


Gridiron Gauntlet

A five-player relay race consisting of various obstacles made its return.

The relays including pushing conference legend captains on blocking sleds, collecting loose footballs down an inflatable path, maneuvering a collection of heavy, hanging bags, going over high walls and under low barriers and a mad sprint to the finish line.

Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Quenton Nelson got the AFC off to a fast start on the blocking sled, but the difference here came in the second stage, where Denver Broncos edge-rusher Von Miller quickly collected all four loose balls before passing the baton.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Buccaneers edge-rusher Shaquille Barrett encountered difficulties that included one ball taking a bad bounce and bounding toward the start line.

The AFC cruised from there for a win.


Best Hands

Quarterback-wideout duos took center stage here. Pass-catchers were asked to make specific types of receptions (e.g. one-handed, diving) around various points of a football field. The leaping-catch station forced quarterbacks to lob a ball over a partition to their intended target.

Each conference sent one pair through the course before passing it off to a second pair for a trip back around. The conference would clock out after the second group finished.

The AFC didn't have much trouble securing the win. It helped to have team chemistry with Jackson and Ravens tight end Mark Andrews serving as one half of the AFC side.

Those two combined with Watson and Landry to finish with a time of 1:26.1, easily beating the NFC's 1:51.2 effort.

The NFC duo of Cousins and Chicago Bears wideout Cordarrelle Patterson struggled to connect on the over-the-shoulder grab, which was a deep shot down the middle of the field. Wilson and Adams also found issues on the diving catch to end their run.


Thread the Needle

This event made its debut on the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown scene and featured defensive backs trying to stop an opposing conference signal-caller from connecting on passes designated for specific targets.

Quarterbacks took turns trying to throw footballs through holes on two walls in alternating fashion. Targets were either worth one, three or five points, but an interception meant the conference lost three points.

In the end, it was Wilson and Cousins again who dominated with 28 combined points to Jackson and Watson's 21.

Wilson overcame a slow start and caught fire late to guide the NFC to the win:

Cousins and Jackson each scored 12. Watson had nine.



Everyone got onto the field for the annual Skills Showdown dodgeball finale. Basic dodgeball rules applied, with the two conferences engaging in a best-of-three series. Players did not return to the field after a caught ball, however.

The AFC handily won the first game, but things looked tight in the second with the conference down four players to two.

However, Landry emerged as the team's hero by knocking out three players through catches. The final one sealed the deal for the dodgeball (and skills competition) win.

Mike Ryan Ruiz of the Dan LeBatard Show provided his tongue-in-cheek take on Landry's epic performance:

Landry was undoubtedly the Skills Showdown's MVP based on his outing.


What's Next?

The AFC will now look to win the Pro Bowl, which takes place on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET from Orlando's Camping World Stadium. ESPN and ABC will televise the game, with live-streaming available through WatchESPN.


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