In the past, I have tried to let everyone know that I consider the NFL Pro Bowl to be a colossal waste of time, energy, space – and any other commodity you might want to add to this listing. My thought has been that the NFL had found the bedrock of worthlessness in the Pro Bowl. Evidently, I was wrong…
In an effort to inspire some interest in this meaningless game, the NFL decided to change the format. No longer would a nonchalant AFC team take on a yawning NFC team. The “new-look” Pro Bowl would have a pool of players elected by the fans and then “team captains” would choose up sides the way kids might do on a playground somewhere.
[Aside: The fact that there will be “fan balloting” assures that this game will not have the best players at each position on the field.]
If that alone does not stir your interest, the NFL has another way to get you to give a rat’s ass about this game. I read a report last week that the NFL Network is going to televise the “choosing up sides” event. Seriously, I am not making that up. Now, you may think that this could be an interesting way to spend 10 minutes because that is more than how long it would take a group of kids to accomplish the same end. However:
The “Pro Bowl Draft” as it is called will be a three-hour event on NFLN.
Forget waterboarding. If you want to break someone down to the point where they are a quivering mass of sobbing flesh, all you have to do is to show him/her the three-hour Pro Bowl Draft on a continuous loop. I figure in about 10 hours, you will have whatever information you might have wanted from the informant.
The Pro Bowl is not nearly the only useless “bowl” at this time of the year. There are 35 college bowl games that will fill the airwaves with games of zero import over the next three weeks Let me give you an example of how mind numbing most of those games are. ESPN has the television rights to just about every one of the bowl games and they run promos all the time about College Bowl Week, which goes from December 21 to January 1. Just the thought of all those meaningless games has clearly rotted out some of the neurons in the collective brain of ESPN to the point where they think a 12-day period of time equals a week.
Let me cite just a few of the bowl games that I will be most happy to ignore:
Texas Bowl: This game pits Minnesota (8-4 with no wins over any important or particularly good teams) against Syracuse (6-6). The only way I would watch this game would be at gunpoint.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo (8-4 against a MAC schedule) will play San Diego State (7-5 against a Mountain West schedule). How might this game be even marginally interesting?
New Orleans Bowl: Tulane (8-4) takes on Louisiana-Lafayette (7-5). If you live in any of the 49 states other than Louisiana, how can you care about the outcome of this struggle?
Heart of Dallas Bowl: The Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV (7-5) bring it against the Mean Green of North Texas (8-4). This game is on New Year’s Day no less…
Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame will play Rutgers in this game in Yankee Stadium in NYC. If the Irish and the closest “major” college football program to NYC cannot fill the stadium, it might be time to put this game out of its misery.
Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot found this nugget of interest in one of the bowl games:
‘Self-destruction: The Orange Bowl between Clemson and Ohio State marks the 35th anniversary of the 1978 Gator Bowl between the schools. That was the game in which Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes punched Clemson lineman Charlie Bauman after Bauman was knocked out of bounds after his interception. The incident that ended Hayes’ stormy career lives forever in grainy flashback on YouTube.”
Of course, the Florida State/Auburn game in the BCS Championship Game will be interesting. To get to this game, Auburn ran roughshod over Missouri in the SEC Championship Game. Considering that going into that game, Missouri had only given up 3.6 yards per running play for the season, the following stats are stunning:
Auburn ran the ball 74 times in the game and gained 545 yards on the ground. That comes to 7.4 yards per rush.
Auburn threw the ball 11 times for 132 yards meaning that they averaged 8 yards per offensive play for the game.
Meanwhile, Florida State will arrive at the game undefeated and all of the wins have been by 2 TDs or more. For the season, Florida State has outscored its opponents by 689 – 139. As of this morning, the Total Line on the game is either 67 or 68 depending on which sportsbook you check out.
According to a report in the NY Post, the Las Vegas Hotel Superbook sold 14 tickets last January on Auburn to win the national championship. Remember, Auburn was 3-9 last year and did not win an SEC game. The odds on those 14 tickets were 1000-1. I think there are a few folks with a monetary rooting interest represented there…
Finally, here are two comments from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald relative to watersports:
“The 54th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is going on. I have nothing against boaters, but think every boat with one of those cute nautical-pun names should be torpedoed.”
“The Key West World Championship of offshore powerboat racing ended, for those of you who enjoy following a sport not the least bit conducive to spectators.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………