NFL Pro Bowl – Put it to Bed

by on December 11th, 2010
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After spoon feeding the raging masses of ravenous NFL fans a weekly menu of tender, high-end Fillet Mignon, the chefs at the offices of America’s most popular sport, wander the kitchen, picking up every bit of thick, greasy, cold and oily leftover gristle they can lay their hands on, and toss it on a plate in a heaping mound of audaciousness. Walking over to the chalkboard, they write “Pro Bowl” as the “Special of the Day,” and then with a sprig of parsley to spruce up the plate, they serve up that sludge to desperate fans in need of one more meal, one more fix and then the chefs smile like piranha swimming in a tank full of gutted swimmers – waiting for the money to roll in.

Why doesn’t the NFL just pull the plug on this inane mess of a football game? Do we really need to see the stars of the game we love, moving at half speed, playing not to get hurt? A ridiculous offensive waterfall of points unfettered by a hint of defensive effort? This may work for the NBA All-Star Game, but not for NFL football. This “game” is so far removed from what we see on a weekly basis – heck, lets include the pre-season when at the very least, effort is shown – as to be an embarrassment.

Does anyone really believe players such as the Chicago Bears Matt Forte – he of the newly healed bad wheel – is going to risk injury when he has a new GM to contend with and no contract offer on the table? I applaud those players that want to be at the game to enjoy the fruits of their labor, but the product put in front of the fans is just plain wrong.

In the days of yore, when players weren’t making so much money in one season that the average working Joe or Jolene could retire, athletes came to the game and played hard. The money that was paid to the winners was significant enough to induce effort in those playing the game. They needed the extra dough and it showed on the field. Now? The money is used to tip the concierge at the five-star hotel where they are staying.

The NFL should take those players voted to the Pro Bowl and have a glitzy, sparkly, shiny, black-tie gala affair in Hawaii, two weeks after the Super Bowl, with bright lights and a red carpet. Make it a weekend gig with a Saturday skills challenge and then a Sunday evening awards banquet with television cameras, top notch Master of Ceremonies – Mike & Mike are you listening? – and introduce each player or a group of players by position, with a highlight clip of the season just played. Heck, maybe even a table full of tuxedo-ed football analysts to rain praise on the best the game has to offer. And the fans? One more weekend to watch the players they love, party with friends and revel in the NFL’s gaudy display of affection for its gladiators.

Its time to put this meaningless sham of a game to bed, and as Dandy Don Meredith used to sing – “turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

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