December 16, 2017

Pro Bowl Postmortem

Like wearing pointy shoes to church or kissing your cousin on the mouth, there are certain things that are fun but just don’t feel right. Put the Pro Bowl in that category.

The NFC prevailed over the AFC, 62-35, in the NFL’s annual All-Star exhibition in Hawaii in a game that, thankfully, had a lot more effort, professionalism, piss, vinegar, and pride than last year’s shameful patty cake poi-fest.

But will it be enough to keep commissioner Roger Goodell from pulling the pineapple on a game that generates less passion than Anne Hathaway’s hair at the SAG Awards? Actually, as many people normally watch the Pro Bowl as the World Series, which proves that baseball has a problem and football – even in faux form – can do little wrong.

Still, the game was not even close to a sellout but that could be because Sundays are also Full House marathon days on the Big Island.

Six players from the Kansas City Chiefs were in Hawaii today and there was also more than one member of the Miami Dolphins and, if you squinted, it may have been possible to spot Doug Flutie on the sidelines. Mr. Flutie could look Russell Wilson right in the eye, which proves that either Doug is taller than we remember or Wilson is shorter than advertised.  It also proves that nice guys may finish last but that doesn’t mean that short guys can’t finish first.


Texans defensive end J.J. Watt played several snaps at receiver, Packers center Jeff Saturday (who was benched during the regular season) actually played for both teams to give him a chance to have his crotch touched by his old pal Peyton Manning one more time, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was the game’s MVP, and it looked like there were more Patriots cheerleaders than Patriots players. Silly, silly, silly.

Some have suggested the Pro Bowl can be saved with a few major alterations like having college players take on the NFL pros or asking Cris Collinsworth to share more tales of drinking with Jack Lambert. But maybe the biggest improvement could come from insisting that Tom Brady shows up and Jerome Felton does not.

Maybe the Pro Bowl can be played on ice, or a camera could be placed on Ed Hochuli’s triceps. How about players on the winning team get a hug from Michele Tafoya, the losers get a kiss from Al Michaels and the grounds crew has lunch with Kimble Anders?

A really neat Pro Bowl would be one in which both 37 yard lines have their own Twitter feed and Mike McCarthy has to wear one of Tom Landry’s hats.

The Pro Bowl’s fate will be officially decided in April and it’s difficult to imagine what could happen between now and then to persuade Goodell whether to move forward with the world’s most-watched practice or replace it with Steppin’ Out with John Clayton. So, it’s likely that what’s done is done and we’re just waiting for the Commish to open the envelope.

If this was the final Pro Bowl we are left with tender memories. Remember the palm trees, the gentle breeze, the half-hearted tackles and Maurkice Pouncey’s smile. Hold dear to your heart the ridiculous scores, hula skirts and absence of Bears on offense.  Think always of the 50th state far, far away. The land of fake football. The gridiron of a grieving pigskin heart.


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