Should the NFL just cancel the damn Pro Bowl?
Folks, I present to you the comprehensive list of all of the entertaining moments that have ever been provided by the NFL's Pro Bowl, without omissions:
- That one time Peyton Manning called Mike Vanderjagt a "liquored up kicker" during a sideline interview.
That's it. That's the whole list.
The Pro Bowl's football isn't the Hydrox to the regular season's Oreo. It's more like taking a compressed lump of sawdust, pouring some beef stock on it, and calling it steak. If NFL Europe and the XFL have taught us anything (and they have taught us so very much), it's that professional football is only fun to watch if it's played at full tilt, by players willing to defeat mathematics and give 110% of themselves for the greater glory of their uniform.
For the Pro Bowl, the only thing requiring 110% effort are the contortions necessary for players to think of excuses to get out of it. I think they may have to dig up Vinny Testaverde again to have somebody start for the NFC this year. Or maybe Bubby Brister. Somebody. Anybody. And that's already with an all-expenses paid mid-winter trip to Hawaii as incentive.
The NFL has tried desperately to spice things up, the most recent innovation being to move it to the off-week between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl, at a time when the public is so desperate for football that they'll watch anything, anything at all to get some into their diet. Despite that, it remains the sort of thin gruel that fails in inspire anyone to forget the absence of football in their lives.
Listen folks, at this point, should the NFL just drop the charade and hand out plaques to all of their Pro Bowlers instead of competing in this meaningless contest?
Or is there some kernel of enjoyment, somewhere in there, that's worth preserving?