BULLFROG FLATS, NJ – It’s Sooper Bowl off-week – the one before every media outlet converges on this year’s site of the NFL title game: Santa Clara, CA. There should be a referendum to ban Santa Clara or Pasadena from hosting this game as they just don’t sound tough enough to hold a Pop Warner football game. Crenshaw or Compton could add a flavor to these stale locales but that’s another topic for another time. There are two “All-Star” games being played later today that have me full of opinion.
All-Star games are not your father’s exhibitions as all of the four major team sports league’s have turned them all into true examples of dog and pony shows. Some, like the NHL, has tried to reinvent the game several times over from playing Russians to Olympics to draft-style format and to the brand new 3-on-3, multi-divisional, celebrity coaching farce held in that hockey hotbed of Nashville, Tennessee. Our other resident hockey nut of a contributor, Different Matt, also poignantly opined Friday on this same topic.
Fans were given the vote for the hockey extravaganza and under the tutelage of two paid journalists was the brain-child of stuffing the ballot box for the most farcical recipient of having the term “All-Star” bestowed upon him. A social media campaign driven – by a podcast produced by these two hacks, one of Sportsnet and the other of Yahoo! Sports – don’t deserve to have their names ever repeated, was a cynically clever way to show displeasure in the NHL’s switch to the new format. As a result, John Scott, he of 285 lifetime games played has five goals, six assists, and 542 penalty minutes, is an All-Star.
Hockey has always been my favorite team sport and always will be. While I love the satire of a hockey movie like Slapshot and Goon I just like hockey to be trivialized by Hollywood producers on the big screen and not in an NHL arena. Reel life instead of real life.
The NFL creates the caricature of a professional football game with it’s Pro Bowl. You know, the one where the primary and secondary honorees look for whatever reason to skip the frogging thing despite it being held in the Hawaiian paradise. What you’re left with are middle-of-the-road, aging, veterans and young rising stars who had statistically pleasing numbers during the season. Again, modified rules decorate the game and I won’t pretend I am aware of them since I haven’t watched a Pro Bowl in thirty years or so.
What I do know is a draft creates a Team Michael Irvin and Team Jerry Rice or one guy who doesn’t shut up and one who has little command of the English language, respectively. Overemphasis versus Understated is how the NFL should bill this game. A stroke of genius by the Fox Network for recreating Grease in a live performance during these all-star telecasts. Channel 5 it is. Not liking any all-star games doesn’t mean I haven’t forgotten how to have fun–just gimme a bunch of beer and a CitiField freebie and I’m amused. Don’t forget my Super Bowl pick highlights next week’s column along with some “prop” bets. Come back tomorrow for West Coast Craig who’s always in control of his propeller.