So of course I have no picks this week, because the Pro Bowl is a waste of time and I don’t think I’ve watched it in about 10 years. Instead, I’m going to repost some text from the middle of the offseason where I ranked the All-Star games among all major sports. I think that Hockey has gone back to the regular format for All-Stars, rather than team captains, but the ranking hasn’t changed. Actually, I have no idea. First though, I’ll run down my pre-season playoff picks and see if I got any right.
Preseason Playoff Picks
Cowboys (division win)
Packers (division win, Superbowl)
Falcons (division win)
Rams, Cardinals, Seahawks, Niners (division win – couldn’t decide)
Steelers (division win)
Colts (division win – assuming Peyton was playing)
Patriots (division win, Superbowl)
Chiefs (division win)
So let’s see, I was right about the Lions, Falcons, Packers, Ravens, Steelers, Texans and Patriots making the playoffs. However, only the Patriots have been my most reliable pre-season pick, yet I picked against them last week like an idiot. Whatever.
Ranking the All-Star Shenanigans
Originally posted July 2011 and I was too lazy to change the specific detail pertaining to last years dates, so deal.
#5 The NFL Pro-Bowl
This game went from being a joke, to an absolute joke. Not only do most of the players complain about going, but it’s like watching a game of touch football. Understandably, no one wants to get hurt in the last game of the season, and most of them just want to get their short vacations started. Even though now we’re seeing them experience an extended vacation. The NFL thought they solved this issue by moving the Pro-Bowl from the week after the Superbowl to the week before the Superbowl in Miami. This was a terrible idea, as now the best players in the league (you know, the ones in the Superbowl) can’t even be recognized as all-stars because they can’t play in the game. For those two reasons, the quality of play and the lack of players, this is my worst rated All-Star game. Add on the fact that the television coverage is basically second rate, the Pro-Bowl blows ass.
#4 MLB All-Star Game
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love the build-up to this game. Specifically the homerun derby, especially since they started letting players pick their hitters. This is a fun time and seems like the players truly enjoy hanging out and slamming free homeruns. Plus, a lot of charity is involved in the derby, so that’s a good thing too. It’s also a lot more entertaining to watch than the game the next day. Now, not everyone agrees with me that the MLB All-Star game is one of the worst, and that’s all well and good but I think for me it’s more the coverage that ruins it for me than the game itself. First off, Fox’s coverage of the game is way too much pomp and circumstance. This year, it was even worse when they led in with ridiculous previews for the X-Factor show. No one watching the game gives a shit. Not to mention, is anyone else just plain tired of Joe Buck?
The game itself isn’t too bad. The teams actually appear like they are trying to win the game. They are a little held back, and usually it comes down to who hits the homeruns. The pitchers are certainly holding back, as an injury on the mound is always in their minds. But what makes it real shit is that it “means something.” You can blame Bud Selig for that, in response to an All-Star game that went 11 innings with no winner, Selig decided that it would be a good idea that the winner of the All-Star game determines home field advantage in the World Series. Are you fucking kidding me? No where does home advantage mean more than in the World Series and it was determined by a meaningless game played by the most popular (because it is a popularity contest, that was assured by letting the fans vote) players and not by record as it should, and is throughout the playoffs. This is a ridiculous end result of the game, and is just plain stupid. I hope, whatever National League team (as the NL All-Stars won this year off a Cecil Fielder homerun) send a thank you note to Fielder for that win. Of course, they could also send fuck you notes to the American League pitchers, who spoon fed him that homerun. Weak.
#3 MLS All-Star Game
I’ve actually never watched a MLS All-Star game. I know that they do it a little different, the best of the U.S. teams vs. a world team like Manchester United. That’s a pretty kick-ass game, because in between dives, they actually play a hard game because it’s based on pride. Sadly, I think the American team loses a lot, but that really doesn’t matter much in the scheme of things. I’ll watch it this year, I promise.
#2 NBA All-Star Game
Like the MLB game, the best part of the NBA All-Star break is the pre-game stuff the day before. The dunk contest highlights everything that is wrong with the NBA, as far as the individualism and so on, but it’s a fucking blast to watch. They jump over cars, shoot 3-pointers and have a blast. The game itself is highly competitive for a game that doesn’t mean anything, this is the general mindset in the NBA though, so that makes sense. It’s probably the only NBA game I watch all year besides the playoffs, as it’s a true All-Star game, with a lot of who-dat players based on stats rather than pure popularity, though there is some of that. In the end though, it’s still the NBA and doesn’t have half as much energy as my number one.
#1 NHL All-Star Game
The NHL game wasn’t always my favorite. For a long while it was East vs. West, which was okay but a bit bland to watch. Then it was USA vs. Canada (or was it World, I can’t remember) but this year they blew me away with their handling of the All-Star game. They went all playground rules on us. First they picked team captains, then they staged a mock draft where the captains picked their teams. The coverage of this took itself a bit too seriously, but it was great that there was no telling who was going to be on which team. This added a level of enjoyment to it because you knew that heated rivals could end up on the same team, and they did. I don’t remember what team won, but I know the score was in the double digits on both sides.
Adding another fun dimension to the game was having the goalies miked up during the game. In between blocking shots, they were bullshitting with the announcers, just having a fun time and performing for the fans. Because in the end, that’s what this game highlighted – the fans. Before the game there was tons of fan interaction, the referees didn’t even call offsides until the 3rd period and were just letting the players play, and the fans enjoy a high scoring exhibition game. Which is what all the All-Star games should be, exhibition games for the fans, to see the best players in the league let loose a little bit so we can look at them as people like us, rather than rich superstars.