Friday, February 6

Down but not out, the Friday Random Ten+5 preps for the Pro Bowl.

Well, with the conclusion of the Super Bowl this past Sunday, the football season officially ended, and this weekend's Pro Bowl will be the last football of any kind we get to watch for the next six and a half months (save for the smattering of NCAA spring games that begins in a month or so). That kind of puts some pressure on the Pro Bowl to be a good game, and I think there are some ways it could be jazzed up a little. Not that the NFL necessarily needs to do what the morons in Major League Baseball did and allow an all-star game to have a direct impact on the league championship, but that still doesn't mean that a meaningless postseason exhibition can't have something riding on it. And that's why this week's +5 is Five Ways To Spice Up The Pro Bowl.

In-game, real-time player voting
Player selection for the Pro Bowl is, in part, determined by the fans, but why stop the voting once the rosters have been set? Have live online voting throughout the game to determine who stays on the field and who gets pulled. If Eli Manning's out on the field and throws a series of incomplete passes, and the online voting shifts in favor of Kurt Warner or Drew Brees, yank Manning out of there and put Brees in. I think the prospect of getting an early hook from the fans if they screw up would prompt the players to step up their game a little.

Have it as far north as possible
Honolulu is fun and everything, but the environment there doesn't actually present any kind of challenge, and aren't football games a little more fun when Mother Nature throws a spanner into the works? Which games are we more likely to remember as classics -- the warm, sunny early-September matchups or the late-season Ice Bowls, the blizzard games where the players celebrate scores by making snow angels in the end zone? Move the all-star game to someplace like Green Bay or Foxboro and then we'll see who the real tough guys (and tough fans) are.

Celebrity coaches
They don't have to coach the whole game, of course, but there are plenty of celebrities who are out there with publicly identified NFL affiliations -- maybe throw, say, Minnesota native and Vikings fan Al Franken in there to coach up a series for the NFC squad against Oakland Raiders fan Tom Hanks. Or let South Park creators and Denver Broncos diehards Trey Parker and Matt Stone go up against well-known Dallas Cowboys Yoko superfan Jessica Simpson. It'd certainly be a lot more exciting than the never-ending series of Hollywood awards shows we always have to sit through this time of year.

Cash bonuses for trick plays
The season's over; there's nothing whatsoever riding on this game. Why play conservatively? Why not call some wild-ass plays just to make things interesting for the fans? I say we offer each coach $10,000 for calling a trick play (to be distributed amongst his roster and coaching staff as he sees fit), which goes up to $25,000 if the play is executed successfully for a first down, $50,000 if it results in a score. And then we can sit back and watch the steady stream of flea-flickers, fumblerooskies, and quintuple-reverses that might just turn this into the most exciting game of the year.

Penalties are punishable by fines assessed on the spot
Of course, since nothing is riding on this game, that also means there's no point in committing penalties, certainly no serious personal fouls or anything like that. So if anyone besmirches the easygoing, fun-loving atmosphere of the game by committing a penalty on the field, I think they should have to pony up some cash. If a guy commits, say, a false start, he's got to pony up a hundred bucks, to be handed to the referee right then and there; for more serious stuff like unsportsmanlike conduct or chop-blocking, ratchet it up into the thousands. And if a player can't come up with the cash, he gets ejected. Maybe we could even do something along the lines of "The Amazing Race" where the offenders would get summarily turned out onto the street with no cash, lodging, plane tickets, or anything, and they'd have to make it home on their wits (and probably name recognition) alone. All proceeds from the fines would go to the United Way, of course.

Doesn't that sound great? While y'all ponder those tweaks for a little bit, here's the Ten:

1. The Dream Academy, "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want"
2. Hot Hot Heat, "Bandages"
3. Thom Yorke, "Harrowdown Hill"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "Always On My Mind/In My House"
5. Modest Mouse, "Dig Your Grave"
6. The Smiths, "Stretch Out and Wait"
7. Fatboy Slim, "First Down"
8. Gorillaz, "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head"
9. David Holmes, "Zero Tolerance"
10. Roni Size, "Brown Paper Bag"

Your turn, nerds. Put your own Random Tens and/or rules changes for the Pro Bowl (or any of the other professional all-star games, for that matter) in the comments.


Reed said...

I don't think I've ever watched even one play from the Pro Bowl, and I don't plan to start now. But I like the idea of having it in Saskatchewan.

1.Richard Buckner, "Raze"
2.Verbow, "Sweet Felicity"
3.Subrosa, "Murder an Angel"
4.U2, "Stories for Boys"
5.Don Caballero, "I'm Goofballs for Bozzo Jazz"
6.Mates of State, "Punchlines"
7.The Jimmy Carter Bunch, "Troglodyte (Cave Man)"
8.Sky Cries Mary, "Sister Ship Twenty Three"
9.Jimi Hendrix, "The Wind Cries Mary"
10.Jane's Addiction, "Standing in the Shower... Thinking"

SpartanDan said...

Same situation as Reed - I've never watched the Pro Bowl because it bears no relation to actual football with the special defensive rules. That can work in some sports (notably, hockey, where the players can do all sorts of ridiculous things with the puck when they know they aren't going to get run over), but I feel bad for the defensive Pro Bowlers because they don't even get to try hard.

That said, having the Pro Bowl in the snow would be entertaining.

1. Metallica - Holier Than Thou
2. Radiohead - Permanent Daylight
3. Alice in Chains - Angry Chair
4. Rush - The Spirit of Radio
5. Blue October - She's My Ride Home
6. Dragonforce - Through the Fire and Flames
7. Shinedown - Lady So Divine
8. Smash Mouth - I Just Wanna See
9. Rush - Subdivisions
10. The Smashing Pumpkins - Landslide

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I'm in favor of having Jessica Simpson coach the Cowboys during the regular season, not just the pro bowl.