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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Non-Game Sporting Events

Nothing beats the action of an NFL Sunday or the thrill of overtime in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but what about the non-game sporting events that people love? This week’s Top Ten Tuesday covers just that, and the criteria is relatively simple: official competitions such as the Westminster’s Dog Show do not count, but competitions such as the Home Run Derby would count because it’s secondary to actual MLB games.


10. NFL Pro Bowl Dodgeball

The newest event on the list, dodgeball has quickly emerged as a fan-favorite competition at the Pro Bowl. It’s been great to see the NFL’s top stars show their ability to dodge/catch balls and give fans a look at which non-quarterbacks can throw lasers—and the battle was very intense earlier this year with a headshot to Saquon Barkley providing humor and giving the NFC a chance to edge out the AFC.


9. NFL Scouting Combine

In terms of excitement, the Combine isn’t something casual fans will be drawn in by over the course of four days. But the NFL is obviously king, and the importance the event has taken—whether it should or shouldn’t be weighed heavily in the evaluation process—makes the Combine a marquee event on the calendar.


8. College Football Playoff Rankings

We’ll see how the eventual CFB Playoff expansion impacts things, and there often seems to be a good idea of how the top four will shake out before it’s officially revealed. Still, college football debates have raged on for decades, and now that happens every week starting in November until—and usually well beyond—the final rankings are revealed in December.


7. Dunk Contest

This is a legacy selection, as the NBA has significantly declined in quality over the years—which carries over to the dunk contest. That said, the legendary competitions of the past when superstars such as Julius Erving and Michael Jordan participated gives the contest a comfortable spot on the list.


6. Selection Sunday

The intensity of debate on Selection Sunday doesn’t come close to matching that of college football, but the hype of filling out a bracket every year is awesome (before brackets are quickly busted after the games begin). When the seedings and matchups are revealed, fans get an opportunity to go with “chalk” or pick a Cinderella team to make a run.


5. NFL Schedule Release

Like everything else the NFL does, the schedule release has become huge—with the league having a three-hour show to breakdown all the matchups. Most teams, players, coaches, and fans probably just want to know what the schedule is, though, and the best part is seeing the primetime and holiday matchups.


4. Home Run Derby

In a way, the Home Run Derby has become what the Dunk Contest used to be, as baseball’s top sluggers showcase their power in a tournament-style setup to headline the MLB All-Star break. Last year, back-to-back defending champion Pete Alonso was dethroned by Juan Soto, and the best the sport has to offer have remained committed to taking on the challenge.


3. Super Bowl Halftime Show

Based purely on popularity, the Super Bowl Halftime Show is a lock for the top three—even if it isn’t competitive and has nothing to do with the game itself. In addition to the musical performances themselves, halftime shows have created meme-able moments that get Twitter buzzing.


2. Olympic Opening Ceremony

The ratings in the United States hit an all-time low for the Opening Ceremony during last year’s Winter Games, but China alone had over 300 million viewers, so the worldwide popularity is undeniable. France (2024) and Italy (2026) have the next two Olympic Games before the US gets a shot to host in 2028.


1. NFL Draft

All things considered, the NFL Draft takes the top spot on the list with an ever-growing hype machine in the weeks and months leading up to the event. Not only do young men (and their families) see dreams come true, but we also get new hope for fanbases all around the league—as one draft can change the trajectory of a franchise.