Why the Pro Bowl should go far away

Highly paid men stand around at the 2014 Pro Bowl (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

By MIKE HERNDON

Would you pay to watch Emeril Legasse and Bobby Flay eat a box of Cheez-its? To see Lizzo hum to herself at the dentist’s office? To watch Stephen King scribble “For a good time, call” on a bathroom wall?

Maybe you would. Most sane people, I suspect, wouldn’t.

Then why would they give away three hours of their lives to watch the Pro Bowl?

It’s not a real football game. It more closely resembles the two-hand touch games we used to play in the backyard. And I can’t even blame the players for the less-than-maximum effort. The game means exactly nothing. Why heighten the already absurd risk of injury in what should be reward for a good season of work, and jeopardize your earning ability over the next year?

But at the same time, if they aren’t going to play hard, and the game doesn’t mean anything, why should we care enough to watch? Are we really that enslaved by football that we can’t bear to skip any sorry excuse for a game that happens to be on TV?

Don’t answer that.

There are plenty of other more worthwhile things to do. Read a book. Clean out your gutters. Phone a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Put together a jigsaw puzzle. Start re-watching Breaking Bad. Teach yourself how to play a Les Claypool bassline.

OK, so you may never master Claypool’s pluck-and-strum technique. But it’s not any harder than finding a rationalization that allows you to fool yourself into thinking this game is actual football.

Just stop already with this sham of a game. Would anyone miss it if it wasn’t played?

John Riggins told us all what to do years ago to make the game viable and no one listened to him — export it, instead of the handful of regular-season games the NFL is currently sending overseas.

Play it in London one year, Mexico City the next, Tokyo the year after that. The crowds there would get exactly what they want: an opportunity to see the sport’s biggest stars at one time (or, at least, the ones that don’t skip it). The players would get what they want: a vacation in an exotic locale.

And the rest of us will get what we want: all 16 regular-season games played in home stadiums where they belong.

Stop making teams fly halfway around the world to play games that matter and send the game that doesn’t matter overseas instead.

But that makes too much sense, apparently. And why should the NFL change? Over 8 million people watched last year’s game and another 8 million will probably watch a bunch highly paid men stand around this Sunday as well.

All of which again proves my theory: We’ll buy any piece of crap, as long as it’s stamped with the logo of our favorite brand.



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