I will now spend 20 minutes parsing the meaning of that gesture on the internet.
Hey, did you watch the Pro Bowl last night?
Me neither. I mean, I was really looking forward to it, but then discovered that it wasn’t on any channel I get. It was probably on TSN, which I decided I could do without the last time I wrangled with the bloodsucking cable leeches over a new bundle. TSN broadcasts what, hockey? Soccer? Basketball? CFL? Beats me.
Anyway, this year’s Pro Bowl looks like it was a bit of a disappointment. It was a blowout for the Irvins, 49-27, which means that Jerry Rice might have actually been surrendering in the picture above. But on the other hand, there were no gratuitous head shots, no defenseless receivers hit, no concussions (that I could find in the postgame news releases) and only one injury (Tyler Eifert of the Bengals; leg). There was also almost 1000 yards of combined offense for the 2 teams, and only 3 punts. Who likes punts? Who doesn’t like offense?
Learn to love the Pro Bowl, for it is the way of the future. Some – players, fans, former players and coaches – may lament that the game is going soft, with its ever-expanding litany of rules against hitting vulnerable players, and protocols put in place when concussions or other serious injuries are suspected. They can lament away, and they will, until the NFL loses its first big lawsuit. It might not lose one for a while – the league seems to have settled the CTA lawsuit for $1B – but it will, eventually. And if the NFL knows how to protect anything (no, not players’ brains, or players’ girlfriends), it’s money. Once the consequences of the NFL’s inherent violence start to hurt owners as much as players, the violence will get dialed back – way back. Purists and old-school fans will hate that, but on the other hand, when the NFL stops putting a premium on physical contact, we might see a new era of smaller, skilled players in the game.
The Super Bowl? It’s a throwback – even the halftime show is usually a paen to the values and artists held dear by the old, rich, white owners. It’s serious stuff, and that will make it tough for the announcing crew to sell it when one team (you can probably guess which one) is up by 24 points at halftime. By contrast, the Pro Bowl is hip, fun, and the face of things to come. If the Super Bowl is 60 Minutes, the Pro Bowl is the Onion. And nobody has fun watching 60 Minutes.