The NFL Playoffs (can anyone still say "playoffs" without employing Jim Mora's wild-ass inflection? I can't) have produced the two teams that will play in the Super Bowl down in Dallas. Remember back in the day when we'd power through the conference championships and the following weekend head full-steam into the Super Bowl?
Not anymore. Now, we wait a week, during which wives, children, non-betting fans, Twitter users and others with short attention spans forget who's even playing in the big game. But last year, realizing that football withdrawal, and its cousins Frito withdrawal and bean dip withdrawal, had paralyzed a nation, the NFL decided to move the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl.
Problem solved, right? Nope, and that's because the Pro Bowl isn't really football. Rather, it's a bunch of beat-to-shit dudes lusting for some time off after six months of brutality just hanging out in Hawaii for a week and then sorta playing some football. I once heard an NFL linebacker say that when you're at the Pro Bowl, you're not supposed to go balls out, but rather hit your opponent with the same ferocity with which you'd smack your brother-in-law. Assuming that you're not Katie Holmes' brother, that means you're not going to hit all that hard, and if no one's chasing you, you're probably not going to run that hard, either. And this is a big problem for those who tune into the game hoping to see an actual football game.
To make it even more ridiculous, the best players aren't even on the field and part of that has to do with the Pro Bowl reverse leapfrogging the Super Bowl. Thus, if you're the best - the very best - at what you do and you get your team to the Super Bowl, you're not in the Pro Bowl. Also, there are 15 players sitting out because of injury, including Maurice Jones-Drew (knee), Tom Brady (hurt feelings/bad hair day) and plenty other notables with ambiguous and mysterious Jay Cutler-like injuries. Add in the 10 playing in the Super Bowl (note: Roethlisberger never made the team because society continues to hate alleged rapists) and you've got 25 total players voted by the fans - more than two full squads - sitting out for the game, making for something that should probably be called the sub-Pro Bowl or the Second Team Bowl or something else catchy like that.
Another thing: the players who do show up don't really give a shit about this game. They just want to hang out in Hawaii and by game time, all that rum and tropical fish slows them down a step, but that's not a big deal, because again, they don't care about this game. At all. Do you remember who won the 2005 Pro Bowl... or even the 2010 Pro Bowl? No, you don't - Pro Bowl results are about as memorable as American Idol champions.
But will you and I be watching the Pro Bowl this weekend? Well, we better - otherwise we'll be curled up on the couch, drooling and screaming for the neighbor kids to run some out routes in the front yard to give us our pigskin fix.