The next chance you have to watch any current Pittsburgh Steelers player play football is this coming Sunday in the NFL Pro Bowl.
The NFL Pro Bowl blows and everybody knows it. No Steelers player should accept an invitation and no real Steelers fan should watch the game. The Pro Bowl is ‘a sham of a mockery of a mockery of a sham of two shams of a mockery’ (Woody Allen is great). I know the game is played in Hawaii but name one NFL player who couldn’t get himself to Hawaii or any other exotic local all on his own. I’m pretty sure most of those dudes could pony up that kind of vacation dough by just doing a quick pocket check of their jeans. A vacation is exactly what it is too. I’ve seen tougher competition and harder hitting when Wheel of Fortune is broadcasting from Hawaii. The NFL is fearful of it’s players getting hurt in this meaningless exhibition that it has dumbed down the rules of engagement to the point that Nancy Boys like me could start at receiver. Let’s take a look at the decidedly non professional tackle football-ish the Pro Bowl has become:
The defense neutering rules:
No blitzing. Are you kidding me? That is an anti Steelers rule if ever I’ve seen one. No wonder James Harrison had his picture taken with two pistols; after a few emasculating appearances in the Pro Bowl he was definitely a candidate for Low T Therapy. If I wanted to see a team not blitz I would watch the Cowboys. In the Frogtown/Limestone league we were allowed to blitz after a ‘three Mississippi count’. If it was good enough for us, it’s good enough for the pros.
The defense must run a 4-3 at all times. Oh I get it; let’s put it to Pittsburgh again! I think this wrinkle is in place specifically to get more slow fat guys on the field and thereby decrease the chance of a fast, linebacker type making anyone’s pads crack. But Don Criqui would have a field day if he ever got to do the play by play for the annual snooze fest. He could confidently call out that the defense was in their base 4-3 alignment prior to each and every snap. And don’t think he wouldn’t do it; it shows his intimate knowledge of the game.
No press coverage except inside the 5 yard line. What the hell! Did Deon Sanders get to pick that rule(oh yes, I did just go there)? There ain’t near enough defensive back contact in most legitimate NFL games for me and then you go and make it 95 yards of hospitality and goodwill. None for me, thank you I think ESPN 35 is rerunning a 1977 Battle of the Network Stars. Lynda Carter and Loni Anderson on the obstacle course together. Now that’s bump and run!
No attempting to block a punt, PAT, or field goal. That’s right kids, no running or jumping. I lifeguarded at the neighborhood pool as a kid. I was a total prick about the rules and the kids still got to have more fun than this!
Things don’t much better on the offensive side of the ball. Note to Roger Goodell; the good and tan people of Hawaii have television sets. They have seen the game and know what it is supposed to look like. This is a joke. Don’t choke on your poi while putting your offensive game plan together:
No motion or shifting by the offense. If Red Grange and Jim Thorpe are running your “O” then I’m in. If not then I wanna see more motion than Courtney Love’s water bed.
The offense must have a tight end in all formations. That’s what she said. The 2011 season featured some of the best tight end action (har, har) in recent history so I’m all for making sure they are represented but let’s let them shine. Make the rule so that only the tight end can be in motion. I want to see something move! Go, Gronk. GO!
The offense cannot have 3 receivers on a side. Why the hell send Mike Wallace, the fastest man in the league, to the Pro Bowl if he can’t run 4 bubble screens for a total of 9 yards (my last Bruce Arians dig promise)? That’s not right. No bunch formations, no motion, static tight ends. Somewhere George Halas is smiling and that somewhere is 1940.
For good (and by ‘good’ I mean ‘stupid’) measure the NFL has given the elite quarterbacks of their generation amnesty by making intentional
grounding legal. I don’t want to live in a world where a QB, who is not being blitzed, can’t hit a receiver, who is not getting chucked. Don’t just put them in a skirt; put them in a grass skirt.
Not to sound like someone’s uncle here but when I was a kid there was a game that was only ever played for a few years. It was the College All Stars vs. The Super Bowl Champions. I remember watching with great delight as the ’74 Steelers kicked the snot out of the same punk ass
punks that would soon be competing for starting jobs in the NFL. I am not sure what became of that game. (Not to mix my metaphors here but…) The Major League Baseball All Star Game was a contest where Pete Rose would slide head first into second because he wasn’t going to change his style of play. I am not at all sure of what is on display at the NFL Pro Bowl but it is surely a pale reflection of the game we all love.
Now for God’s sake get Chris Berman out of that Hawaiian shirt.