Greetings from the Frozen Tundra, my friends!
The past two weeks, if you are a fan of the Green Bay Packers, have been pretty quiet ones. Since the heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants, many fans of the Green and Gold have been in a state of shock.
Packers sweatshirts (it's the middle of winter, after all) have been put away in the closet, as wearing anything related to the Packers will lead to someone, if you so choose to wear it in public, to comment on the game. And talk about ripping a Band-Aid off a fresh wound...
Ouch. A season of promise is leading to a very long offseason of what could have been.
But, the Pro Bowl is one thing that I, personally, look forward to every year. Yes, I know. I've heard the complaints: "The players don't actually TRY to play football." Or, "The game doesn't really matter, so why watch it?" And, "I'm just waiting for the NFL Draft. This game is just a pat on the back for players."
And if you have also made those complaints, you are very correct. The players want to remain healthy so there seems to be limited contact. The Pro Bowl won't improve player's statistics or even make a difference in the long and short of it. But, if I may be so bold to suggest a different paradigm of thinking?
What about looking at the Pro Bowl as the ultimate in fantasy football, realized? Where else could you, as a diehard Packers' fan but also as someone who enjoys watching Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings (when not playing the Packers) play standing side by side with Charles Woodson, B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews?
If you are a Packers fan, at one point in the past seasons, you may have watched Jared Allen decimate Aaron Rodgers, which is never a good thing in my eyes, and think, "We need someone like that on the Packers. Someone who will go completely crazy on the offensive lines of opponents, make the sack, and then bounce up to his feet, giggling like a school girl over Justin Bieber."
And to see Jared Allen on the same team, in the general vicinity of a green and gold helmet? Oh, what a miraculous occasion, indeed.
Where else, in real life, could you hear the phrase, "And there's Coach Mike McCarthy talking to his quarterback, Cam Newton" and not have your head explode?
This is a game that witnesses Clay Matthews intercept a pass from Ben Roethlisberger and throws a lateral pass? Or onside kicks and fake punts? This is a game that is just a chance for these players, some with huge contracts, to remember why they started playing football in the first place. And, with a $50,000 check for the winners (and $25,000 for the losers), it is also a friendly way to remind players that while this is a fun game, it is also a chance to compete.
Now, I know that there are a lot of people who don't agree with this belief and will probably say that the Pro Bowl is a waste of time. After all, looking at the stands at Aloha Stadium last night showed that there were many empty seats. This leads to a different argument:
If the Pro Bowl was played in, say, Green Bay, would there be an empty seat in Lambeau Field? I don't think so, personally. There would probably be some frost-bitten cheerleaders, but a lot more fans in the seats.
The Pro Bowl, after all, is a chance for fans, whose teams are not fortunate enough to be in Indianapolis this week, to have one more week of football. One more week to say, "WOW! Did you see that pass that Drew Brees made to Jimmy Graham!" One more week to say, "Why can't my team make an onside kick like that?"
Ah, a chance to dream big...
Anyway, on to the Super Bowl!