Thursday, January 22, 2015

Your Pro Bowl moment for today

Maybe you missed it in all the hoo-ha over Deflategate. But a very important thing happened yesterday, because it impacted one of the premier events in sports in ways that were both meaningful and, well, full of meaning.

What happened was the Pro Bowl fantasy draft.

Michael Irvin, who owns one Pro Bowl fantasy team, took Tony Romo.

Cris Carter, who owns the other team and picked first, took Andrew Luck.

Which meant Andrew Luck was the No. 1 pick in the Pro Bowl draft, an undoubted highlight of his blossoming career. Not many guys can say they got taken No. 1 in the Pro Bowl draft, on account of the Pro Bowl has only had a draft for a couple of seasons. But, still. The Neckbeard was thrilled.

"It's nice, I guess," he gushed.

Darn right it's nice.

Playing for Team Carter (or, OK, Team Irvin) is what every boy dreams of from the moment he first picks up a football and chucks a fluttery pass to Dad in the backyard. Those who scoff that the Pro Bowl meant a lot more when it was AFC vs. NFC are big doodooheads. Who'd want to represent their conference when they could represent a couple of TV analysts instead?

I mean, this is the Pro Bowl, the finest example of groin-pull avoidance known to man. Guys play their whole careers for the opportunity to half-ass it in the Pro Bowl. Nothing in sports takes more skill than making it look like you're trying when you're actually just trying not to be That Guy Who Gets Hurt In The Pro Bowl And Screws Up The Back End Of His Next Contract.

In recent years, there've been more and more calls to abolish the Pro Bowl. It's a joke, people say. It's terrible football. Better to reward the players selected to play in it by simply sending them (and their families) to Hawaii for a week of sun, surf and the occasional rousing game of beach volleyball.

Nonsense. Football is football, even if it's a parody of football. And that's especially true on a day when there's no other football on. That's why people still watch the Pro Bowl. The NFL has Americans so thoroughly hooked on its product they'd watch the Pro Bowl if it was played between the AFC and NFC equipment managers.

Just put the ball in the air and give people a chance to argue whether or not Billy Don Grommet, towel boy for the Kansas City Chiefs, completed a "football move" on that catch. They'll do it. They're as hooked as any junkie.

And so, yes, the Pro Bowl serves a purpose, no matter how silly it all is. And, yes, Andrew Luck struck the exact right chord.

The Pro Bowl.

It's nice. We guess.


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