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What is the Lightning Round in the 2023 Pro Bowl Games?

We discuss a new event for this year’s Pro Bowl Games.

Darius Slay #23 of the Detroit Lions competes in the Thread the Needle challenge at the 2020 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Kissimmee, Florida. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The 2023 Pro Bowl will have a different look. The NFL is really leaning into the skills competitions this year. The action gets started on Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Thursday’s events will be more of the skills competitions, while Sunday, February 5 will see players competing in a flag football tournament.

While there are some holdover events from last year, there are several competitions we will see for the first time. One of them is called the Lightning Round. This is really just a collection of three elimination-based mini-games. The first is called Splash Catch, the second High Stakes and the third Thrill of the Spill. In the first game, the 16 players from each conference will pair off. They will toss water balloons back and forth, and the duos that complete all of their throws will advance.

High Stakes involves the remaining players no longer participating as partners. It will be a free for all as players attempt to catch punts from a JUGS machine. Those that are successful will advance to the third and final round. Thrill of the Spill will be presented with a classic dunk tank scenario. They will see targets and a bucket of water perched above an opposing conference’s coach. Their goal is to be the first player to hit the target and dump the bucket on the coach’s head will win.

Here’s a list of the players and how they’re paired off:


Quinnen Williams, Jets
Mitch Morse, Bills

Joel Bitonio, Browns
Pat Surtain II, Broncos

Laremy Tunsil, Texans
Ben Jones, Titans

Jamal Agnew, Jaguars
Justin Hardee, Jets

Bradley Chubb, Dolphins
Rodger Saffold, Bills

Matt Milano, Bills
Jeffrey Simmons, Titans

Wyatt Teller, Browns
Derrick Henry, Titans

Dion Dawkins, Bills
Patrick Ricard, Ravens

Cam Heyward, Steelers
Trey Hendrickson, Bengals

Terron Armstead, Dolphins
Xavien Howard, Dolphins


Frank Ragnow, Lions
Budda Baker, Cardinals

Chris Lindstrom, Falcons
Brian Burns, Panthers

KaVontae Turpin, Cowboys
Jeremy Reaves, Commanders

Penei Sewell, Lions
Cam Jordan, Saints

Terry McLaurin, Commanders
Fred Warner, 49ers

Tristan Wirfs, Buccaneers
Demarcus Lawrence, Cowboys

Talanoa Hufanga, 49ers
Quandre Diggs, Seahawks

Dexter Lawrence, Giants
Zack Martin, Cowboys

Tyler Biadasz, Cowboys
Danielle Hunter, Vikings

Trent Williams, 49ers
Elgton Jenkins, Packers