On December 21, 2012, Jeff Saturday, the centerpiece of the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line during their perennial AFC South domination and the height of Peyton Manning's gangsta pimp-daddyness, found himself in foreign territory. On that day, the 5-time Pro Bowler was not only in unfamiliar colors (he was wearing green and yellow as a member of the Green Bay Packers), but also his ginormous ass was demoted to the bench. That's right, with only 2 games remaining in the regular season, and Green Bay fighting for home field advantage, the Packers benched Jeff Saturday for continuous poor play.
He went to the Pro Bowl that year.
He would announce his retirement at that very Pro Bowl.
The NFL Pro Bowl wreaks of smelly farts, and we will touch on a few of those silent-but-deadly truths. But I will try to provide air freshener at the end as a way to resurrect its former glamour. I won't let the Pro Bowl put a hershey streak in MY football world.
But back to farts.
Here's why smelling farts will be more entertaining than the 2016 Pro Bowl: at least smelling a fart can make you laugh.
However, we should make a distinction first. It matters very much WHO lets the fart...
We all know we can stand our own brand. Under the bed sheets, after a long night of drinking and eating low-grade food - no problem. We can let a fart so bad that we know for sure will inflict pain on all bystanders, but it's not even enough to make us flinch. I've even been known to mumble under my breath "Oh my God" and let out a slight chuckle at the sheer thought of that poop-inspired potpourri floating around in the atmosphere.
On a more serious note, and we've all been there…walking into the stadium. At a bar. Or restaurant. Perusing down the aisles of the grocery store. Standing in line at the gas station. Or matriculating your way through Wal-Mart. Your olfactory senses send an ominous danger signal to the rest of your body. OH MY GOD, A STRANGER JUST FARTED! There are very few things in life that are more disgusting than smelling the hellacious crop dust of an unknown assailant. I immediately think of the sloppiest, most disgusting person on Earth, buttcrack hanging out, pit stains in their way-too-short white T-shirt, IQ of an eggplant - and THAT'S the (expletive) that just stink-bombed my breath of fresh air! This is no laughing matter. All you can do is try to identify the blast of the crop dusting circumference, plug up those nostrils, and quickly get to safety. We really should treat Stranger Fart Crop Dusting as seriously as Stranger Danger.
On the other hand, a fart by a friend, a family member (especially grandparents and other old people, or baby/toddler farts when they don't even realize the hilarious noise that just emitted from them - "Huh? Where the hell did that come from? Welp, back to stumbling around and making messes."), or even a romantic partner, can have quite the opposite effect of Stranger Fart Dysphoria: you have the irresistible urge to laugh and punch someone at the same time. I might be weird, but I have this sneaking suspicion that others will understand where I'm coming from: I know a romantic relationship has progressed pretty well if I feel comfortable enough to rip ass in front of you. Me and my friends usually let 'er rip and then waft the fumes towards each other, trying to incite quotes like you might hear from Anchorman:
- "It smells like a used diaper filled with Indian food."
- "It smells like a turd wrapped in burnt hair."
- "It smells like Bigfoot's (expletive)."
Of course we invent our own, ranging from the PG-version that you might have to use when great-grandma is around ("it smells like something crawled up there and died") to the R-rated ("holy (expletive) bro, did you shart out Taco Bell into underwear that's made entirely of (expletive) recycled elephant dingle berries?") Feel free to leave your favorites down in the Comments section, but we should probably go ahead and continue the article before I get out of hand. I could do this all day.
The reason the Pro Bowl wreaks with such flatulent effervescence is that the fear of injury and the lack of competitiveness is woven into the very fabric of the game. Did you know in the Pro Bowl you cannot:
- go in motion or shift?
- get penalized for intentional grounding?
- utilize press coverage?
- attempt to block a kick or punt?
There's a reason that the NFL is the only professional sport where its regular season games trump the All-star game in viewership and ratings. Dudes are sitting around with their legs spread so wide open you'd think they needed a bowling lane for ball space. High-fiving each other, cracking jokes. Lackadaisical effort. If I wanted to see the sum total of these things, I could easily go catch the middle-aged dudes play open gym down at the YMCA.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was close to nixing it after 2012, in my opinion; the NFLPA came up with the "fantasy draft" format after the abysmal effort in the 2012 Pro Bowl to try and mask the stench. I ultimately suspect the NFLPA kept it going because players are able to enhance their contracts with performances-based escalators like making the Pro Bowl. At any rate, we all know a Pro Bowl berth is not what it used to be - look no further than some of the Miami Dolphins
players who made it this year. Brent Grimes
and Branden Albert
had average years and likely made it on name recognition alone. And frankly, most OL make the Pro Bowl based on name recognition because there aren't a conglomerate of stats from which to differentiate among them. Terrell Suggs openly admitted
to picking Ryan Fitzpatrick
over Tom Brady
in the year Brady won the NFL MVP because he hates the New England Patriots
. Some players decline with age but still get in because they have other players' respect. Players get 1/3 of the vote, and some of the bias is evident.
Then, (eye roll), fans have a 1/3 of the vote. And some of us are, um, (scratches head), I don't know quite how to put this - we're idiots. I'm sure you know a few. Or lots. We pick players from our favorite team whether or not they are truly the best. But on top of that, it rewards divas who gain notoriety from just being in the media constantly (name recognition); it rewards bigger market teams who have their games nationally televised more often as well. In my opinion, fans have no business voting on the Pro Bowl. SUTTON's take? 1/3 coaches, 1/3 GM's, 1/3 players (despite their bias, they play the game).
Aside from the skewed voting, the teams in the Super Bowl
can't even send their best players to the Pro Bowl because of the timing of the Pro Bowl, diluting the "eliteness" of the Pro Bowl players. Some players flat out refuse the offer, no sense in denying the reality of getting hurt going into the off-season or the meager monetary stipend they get in return for their attendance: "I'm rich, (expletive)!" as the Dave Chappelle show so eloquently put it. Hell, they're just tired and busted up from a long year, and going to a warm weather climate to F around is not enough incentive to override the motivation to lay back, put on some sweatpants,
go smoke some weed
, and let the body heal.
In 2014, 1 of 8 San Francisco 49er players actually attended the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl, simply put, is not a true representation of the caliber of player the game is intended to display - which is why I'm urging you to refrain from using the Pro Bowl as a basis of player comparison. Only in restoring the Pro Bowl can we reestablish being a Pro Bowl player as a crux in our banter.
OK, I've sufficiently Dutch-ovened the Pro Bowl. Here's how I believe we can Febreeze the Pro Bowl and get it smelling semi-heavenly again:
- Put the game at the END of the year. Players from the Super Bowl teams, either short-term or long-term, become the faces of the NFL. It's a way to bring ratings back to the Pro Bowl spectacle - there's simply more faces and names for people to recognize.
- I may be in a minority, but I don't even need to see a "game", especially with those lame-ass rules in place. I think in the interest of getting the "stars" to participate, the focus should be on skill contests. The possibilities are really endless in terms of the contest itself and its participants. How cool would it be to see Dan Marino vs. Tom Brady in the "moving target" throwing contest? Or maybe they launch 40 yard bombs, while the other is sitting above the pool of water, and if the target is hit the guy drops into the pool like at your local fair? How about a relay race consisting of an OL, DT, and punter? A pie eating contest between Jerome Bettis and Eddie Lacy? Or a hot dog eating contest between Rex and Rob Ryan? Let's get creative with this. We can have "legit" competitions and "funny" competitions - all of which will add to the overall entertainment value.
- Perhaps the most important component of my Pro Bowl resurrection is involving Roger Goodell. What a better way to give himself a PR facelift? He should be right in the thick of things. How about Goodell vs. Richie Incognito in a 40 yard dash? Winner gets money donated to their chosen charity. Like others, I'd like to see if Goodell's calf muscles or upper knees have seen the light of day in the last decade. Hell, I'd tune in just to see what kind of athletic equipment he wears. Would he wear mesh shorts? Under Armour? The good old-fashioned sweat shorts? Track pants? Would he wear a headband or wrist bands like most goobers his age that are doing something mildly athletic? Maybe he and Ndamukong Suh have a field goal contest - loser has to do push-ups with cheerleaders sitting on them. I mean, again, the possibilities really are endless.
Please, if you have any suggestions for improving the NFL Pro Bowl, let's hear them down in the Comments section! I'm not satisfied with saying the Pro Bowl reminds me of a nursing home diapering station without offering some suggestions on how to cleanse the oxygen. I know you have some outside-the-box ideas, too! Let's hear them!
PHINS UP Y'all!!!