Football With (No) Balls

February 7, 2008 – 8:01 pm by McD

Given the level of disdain I feel for the NFL Pro Bowl, which occurs each February, I’m constantly amazed at how often I find myself thinking about it. I can’t shake it. It’s inescapable, like a naked picture of Bea Arthur or Britney Spears’ crotch. Each year, starting in December when the rosters are announced and running through the playoffs, the Pro Bowl insists that it matters to us. That we give a crap which players are going to play a meaningless game the week after the Super Bowl. And each year it’s the biggest letdown of all time, the football equivalent of picking up a hooker that turns out to be a transvestite. You’re desperate, lowering your standards, willing to pay whatever, and you end up with some one in a purple leather dress and an Adam’s apple the size of a golf ball. Er, not that that’s ever happened to us.

So when the Pro Bowl rosters were announced in December, I complained that there wasn’t any point in announcing them at that time in the season. But now, as the game approaches, is there any point in playing it at all when one in five players named to the game doesn’t even play in it? No Brett Favre. No Tom Brady. No LaDainian Tomlinson. There is nothing about this game that makes it interesting. Imagine if Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett all pulled out of the NBA All-Star game because they just didn’t feel like playing in it. Would anyone watch the game? Of course not.

Football is a brutally physical game that often leaves former players crippled later in life. Each player has to maximize the time they get in the NFL because injuries happen so often and eventually the beating just takes its toll. Obviously this means that the Pro Bowl is just 22 players on a field half-assing so no one gets hurt. There’s no blitzing and all the plays are sloppy because the teams only get a week to practice. Plus, Norv Turner is coaching the AFC this season.

No one watches football so a bunch of rich guys can worry about their knees for four quarters in a meaningless game. And we’re supposed to watch exactly that only seven days after the Super Bowl, the climax of any NFL season, especially this one. After the awesomeness that was Super Bowl XLII, the Pro Bowl this year is the very definition of anticlimactic.

Sure, NFL, waste my time by pretending this game matters at all. Keep feeding us this garbage and risking injury to your most marketable players. Or, the players would be risking injury if they were actually playing in the game, that is. But this year, you’re not going to fool me with your purple nylon dress. I see your Adam’s apple and creepy facial hair, and I’m going to keep driving down this alley, desperate for football, until I can find something worth obsessing about. Hey, isn’t the draft in like two months? Sweet.

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