The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Best of the Best Compete in NFL Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Game

AP Photo / John Raoux

The first weekend in February was a big one for the stars of both the NFL and NHL, with their respective yearly all-star games taking place within 24 hours of each other.

The 2024 Pro Bowl Games — hosted by Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., — marked the second year of the reimagined Pro Bowl after the shift was made from a formal game to skills competitions and a flag football match-up. 

The games debuted on Thursday, Feb. 1, with the National Football Conference (NFC) taking a six-point lead against the American Football Conference (AFC) in the Skills Showdown, a series of five football challenges ending with a dodgeball tournament between the two conferences. 

Players from every division showcased their athletic prowess for the millions of fans in attendance and those tuning in on TV. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Precision Passing challenge — which tests Pro Bowl quarterbacks’ pass accuracy on moving and stationary targets — with the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner beating out Houston Texans QB and Offensive Rookie of the Year CJ Stroud to earn the NFC three points. 

The NFC put three more points on the board after Dallas Cowboys punter Bryan Anger won in Closest to the Pin, a hole-in-one golf competition. Bryan’s tee shot landed two feet shy of the hole on a par-3, securing another win. Pittsburgh Steelers safety Miles Killebrew’s impressive performance in the High Stakes challenge, in which players battle out to see who can catch and hold on to the most punts at once, clinched a big win for the AFC with his six-football snags wowing spectators.   

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua showed off his wakeboarding skills to win the Best Catch challenge for the NFC, while Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce and Minnesota Vikings long snapper Andrew DePaola teamed up for the Snap Shot challenge, earning a combined 14 points to clinch yet another NFC win. 

Thursday night’s games culminated with a multi-round 5-on-5 dodgeball tournament featuring four teams. The AFC offense iced a win against the NFC defense, while the NFC offense beat out the AFC defense in Game 2, securing the NFC a big 12-6 lead at the end of the night. 

The games continued on Sunday, Feb. 4, with five more skill challenges: Madden NFL, Kick-Tac-Toe, Gridiron Gauntlet, Move the Chains and Tug-of-War. Nacua, who was named the Pro Bowl MVP this year, and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons successfully defended the NFC’s Madden title, while Baltimore Ravens place kicker Justin Tucker took home a victory for the AFC in the Kick-Tac-Toe competition. 

The event concluded later in the day with a highly-anticipated 7-on-7 flag football game. This brother-on-brother veteran match-up — Eli Manning coached the NFC team while Peyton Manning coached their AFC counterparts — boasted stacked rosters on both sides of the ball. Standouts included Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, with 90 receiving yards on nine catches and three touchdowns, Detroit Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, with ten catches for 117 yards and a TD, and Stroud, who led all quarterbacks with 173 yards under his belt

The AFC clinched a 50-34 victory in flag football, but it was not enough to overcome the NFC-dominated Skills Showdown. The NFC’s 64-59 win bagged them bragging rights for a second year running.

NHL All-Star Weekend took place in Toronto, a thousand miles from sunny Orlando and the NFL Pro Bowl. The Maple Leafs hosted the event in Scotiabank Arena and events ran from Feb. 1-3.

Unlike in years past, where every All-Star would compete in at least one event, the new format has just 12 All-Stars competing in the eight events, with points added up after each win. 

Four teams competed, each led by an All-Star captain and celebrity co-captain: Team Matthews, led by Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Justin Bieber; Team McDavid, led by Edmonton Oiler center Connor McDavid and Will Arnett; Team Hughes, led by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes and Michael Bublé; and Team Mackinnon, led by Colorado Avalanche center Nathan Mackinnon and Tate McRae. 

Much like the Pro Bowl, the weekend began with a skills competition on Friday, Feb. 2. Players competed in events including Fastest Skater, Hardest Shot, Stickhandling, One-Timers, Passing challenge, Accuracy Shooting, a shootout and an obstacle course. 

Stars of the weekend included Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev, who made nine of 10 saves against McDavid in the one-on-one contest, earning him the $100,000 prize and points for Team Mackinnon and Matthews, who certainly had himself a weekend. Matthews, the league’s leading goal scorer this year, earned the most points in skills competitions, securing him the $1 million prize, and the All-Star MVP title for the third year running, showcasing his talent with two goals and one assist in Saturday’s game. 

NHL rookie of the year prospect and Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard, who suffered a fractured jaw in a game against the New Jersey Devils last month, shocked fans with a surprise appearance in the One-Timers event. At age 18, Bedard made history as the youngest player to get drafted into the All-Star game. 

Team McDavid won Friday’s competition overall, while Team Matthews clinched a 7-4 victory over Team McDavid in the All-Star Game on Saturday, Feb 3.

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