The Pro Bowl-Revisited

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Greetings from The Booth!

Well, we are on the eve of the most exciting weekend in pro football, a weekend where friends and family gather in homes and watering holes around the USA. A weekend where tons of wings and pizza are consumed, and gallons of suds are imbibed. A weekend that has become a de facto national holiday. Yes, it is…Pro Bowl weekend!

I jest, of course. The Pro Bowl is the NFL’s all-star game, and in the words of the late NFL great, Sonny Randle, “a pillow fight.” It was definitely that when it was an actual football game (defense optional), but even more so now that Pro Bowl weekend features skills competitions and a series of 7-on-7 flag football games. I’ll probably be catching up on some much needed sleep or watching The Paint Drying Network or The Traffic Light Channel, both of which have been added to my cable provider–just in time.

I took an informal poll on my morning show today, and the question was simply, “Pro Bowl or Bridges Of Madison County.” The latter holds a special place in my heart. I watched it in sunburned agony in the old movie theatre in Chincoteague, Va., on a vacation getaway with my wife one Summer. Sunburn aside, as a red blooded male, it was certainly agonizing to see Clint Eastwood’s character standing in the rain crying like a baby.  I kept waiting for him to say “Come on punk, open up the white zinfandel.” Sadly, that line never came. Anyway, I tried to come up with the ultimate chick flick that even the most casual football fan might decline for the Pro Bowl, and here are the results of the poll: “Bridges” edged out the Pro Bowl. So, there’s that.

I have an idea for reviving at least the concept of a Pro Bowl, which used to be a nice getaway to Hawaii for players and their families when NFL salaries were much lower. Today’s Pro-Bowlers could actually go to Hawaii every week of the year, so that perk has become irrelevant. Remember the old 70’s ABC show “Superstars?” That show featured athletes and celebrities in various sports competitions: weightlifting, track and field, bowling, etc. It was great seeing Gabe Kaplan (Welcome Back Kotter) pulling a hammy during the 100-yard dash or Joe Frazier nearly drown in the 50-meter swim (he didn’t know how to swim). Let’s do that with the Pro Bowl. Yes, we could see a Pro Bowler actually “bowl.” I would watch that.

Or, let’s just move the Puppy Bowl to the Sunday between the NFL Championship Games and The Super Bowl. I never miss a Puppy Bowl, which features rescue dogs from all over the USA running around a football field, complete with a play-by-play announcing team, and a Puppy Bowl Blimp. The winner even gets the “Lom-bark-i Trophy.” The Puppy Bowl has become a tradition in our house on the day of The Big Game. It deserves it’s own Sunday, which we could call “Puppy Sunday.” It beats watching someone trying to pull Cee Dee Lamb’s flag.

And besides, you’re never going to call in sick the day after The Puppy Bowl…

Until the next visit from the Booth, have a great Pro Bowl party!








Sports Dogs Podcast: Remembering Brig Owens With The Doc

In this edition of the Sports Dogs Podcast, R-Dog (Randy) chats with former UVA and Miami Dolphins player Dr. Kurt Pierce about the late Redskins’ great Brig Owens and memories of the heat of NFL training camp. Enjoy!


Pillow Fight

Greetings from The Booth!

First, a mention of the Shenandoah University women’s basketball team, who, as of this writing, have now won eight consecutive games, and are peaking at the right time. The ladies are now 15-4 and will be a tough “out,” if not one of the favorites to win the ODAC Tournament in a few weeks. With just a handful of games remaining, the Hornets may just get to that 19-20 win mark entering the postseason, which would be special. SU has a solid core of seniors, and several first-year players worth watching. They have chemistry, great coaching, and a “refuse to lose” mentality. They showed that in recent wins against then league-leading Roanoke, and against an inferior Guilford squad, when Shenandoah didn’t bring it’s “A” game. Keep an eye on this bunch as they head down the stretch.

Did you happen to see the disclaimer during Sunday’s NFC-AFC Pro Bowl? (Oh, you didn’t watch the Pro Bowl?) There wasn’t really a disclaimer, but there should have been one that said “No players were harmed in the playing of this game.” The late NFL great Sonny Randle used to call the Pro Bowl “a pillow fight,” and that’s exactly what Sunday’s game was. There was no pretense of tackling, and I’m not sure anyone ever touched the ground. I’ve played harder in the side lot of Second Baptist Church in Martinsburg before Christmas play practice, or in Thanksgiving “Turkey Bowls” back in the day.

I get it. No one wants to get injured in an exhibition. That’s why a lot of the top players who get voted to the Pro Bowl skip the game. Years ago, when players made a lot less money and the game was played in Hawai’i, making the Pro Bowl meant a free trip for the athlete and his family. Now, with players making millions of dollars, a trip to Vegas (or anywhere for that matter) isn’t a big deal. $40-80 thousand is pocket change.

The Pro Bowl should go the way of pay phones, 8-track tapes, and the dodo bird. It’s meaningless and doesn’t resemble football. The Puppy Bowl is more watchable. In terms of replacing it with something, I don’t know the answer. Maybe just eliminate the game altogether, do away with 2 weeks of endless human interest player features, and play the Super Bowl the weekend after the Conference Championship games.

Either that , or let the players have a real pillow fight.

Until the next visit from The Booth, enjoy the Big Game, and GO HORNETS!