Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm Pro-Pro Bowl

I hope the NFL decides to keep the Pro Bowl.

I've gone back and forth on this. After last year's fiasco, I didn't think I'd miss it. But this year, they actually played the game. Yes, the NFC eventually put it away, but for the first half at least, it was appropriately competitive. (Not that blowouts by themselves should be grounds for ending the game — see also Super Bowl.)

What I like best about the Pro Bowl isn't so much its loyalty to the real game or even the outcome — but the little things that make it fun that can't exist elsewhere. It's the only chance many players have to commingle on the field. It's the game where offensive lines can clap in unison while lining up. It's the only place where the NFC's Jeff Saturday could switch sides for one play so he could enjoy one final snap with longtime collaborator Peyton Manning. It's the only place where a seasoned official can joke, "Yes, there are penalties in the Pro Bowl." It's a venue for the best players and coaches to show off their skills without the heavy implications both players and fans experience during serious games. Sideline interviews are plentiful and as good as those tend to get.

I even liked the live Twitter booth they had last year, because it was such an insane idea.

Most of all, though, the Pro Bowl reminds us that football can be enjoyable even when your favorite quarterback throws to your least-favorite receiver. It puts team loyalties in perspective, as well as the game itself. A crazed, intense fan like myself often needs that reminder.

So keep the Pro Bowl. In Hawaii.

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