Sunday was a good day for the Urban Dictionary, if not for anyone else. Sunday, it got a new entry with lots of uses.
Pro Bowl, n., adj., v. -- A fake, a sham, fraud, a waste of time, as in, "God, you are such a Pro Bowl," or "The boss just gave me some Pro Bowl job, and I have no idea what he expects me to do about it," or "What kind of Pro Bowl excuse is that, you nimrod?"
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• An insoluble mess, as in, "What kind of Pro Bowl did you just hand me there?" or "This garage looks like the Pro Bowl, for God's sake."
• To be accused of perpetrating a fraud, or giving an unacceptably poor effort, or warned against same, as in, "Don't Pro Bowl that quarterly report, Perkins," or "Did you just Pro Bowl me? Do I have to get out of this chair and kick your ass?" Or, "You'd kick my ass if you weren't such a Pro Bowl."
• A tired old person, place or thing that produces waves of condemnation while being impervious to criticism, change or improvement, as in, "I'd talk to him about it, but he's a total Pro Bowl, so why bother?" or, "You have a date? Where are you taking her, the Pro Bowl?"
• And finally, a cheap and easy column, as in, "I'm not feeling good. Maybe I'll just send 'em a Pro Bowl and call it a day."
Sunday's effort in Hawaii was even more contemptible than usual, where the level of DGAD (don't give a damn) was slightly more evident from the start. Players looking at a lockout and wondering to themselves, "Maybe I should run hard for that ... ahh, never mind."
But since the Pro Bowl can't be fixed, unlike the NHL All-Star Game, which gets fixed every year, this is to be expected. Put it another way -- when Pro Football Talk, which is to the NFL as L'Osservatore Romano is to the Vatican, mocks it, you have a bad product that will never get better. Put it yet another way –- if you let Jay Glazer call a play because the game's on Fox, you really don't care, as in, "Digging this ditch is so pointless that I might as well let Jay Glazer finish it."
And we don't even have a problem with Jay Glazer.
It can't be fixed, either. Putting it after the Super Bowl doesn't work. Putting it before it doesn't work. Putting it anywhere doesn't work. This is not a scheduling problem. This is a "Why the hell do we do this?" problem, with the only answer being, "We still get sponsors." Which, I guess makes the Pro Bowl an unattractive streetwalker, as in, "Well, the bars are closed and the women have gone home, and I don't want to be alone tonight, and I've got $20 in my pocket ... oh, what the hell. I'll get shots tomorrow, just in case."
|Eric Berry really Pro Bowls this tackle against Steven Jackson. (AP)|
It just stinks, pure and simple, and it's never going to do anything else. Sunday was merely the latest example of the final proof, because we say this every year.
If there was a way to kill it in CBA negotiations, we'd say, "Okay, it serves a purpose." Lopping off two exhibitions and the Pro Bowl takes three weeks off the season, which is its own reward. But it's the only game all year in which nobody gets hurt, so the union doesn't really hate it that much, as in, "Well, the bars are closing, most of the girls are gone or hooked up, but that one's kind of a Pro Bowl. I'll make a run at her."
If there was a way to convince people not to watch it at all, thereby driving the ratings down to damaging, we'd organize a campaign, but there is a segment of the population that would watch football in NFL uniforms even if it were played by platypuses.
But no, all we can take from Sunday's performance, and all the performances before it, is a new slang term, one which has many valuable uses, as in, "I've been here for a half-hour just Pro Bowling it, and the movie hasn't started yet. I told you we got here too early."
Maybe there is something, though. Maybe we will never see the word "snub" used in a Pro Bowl selection story ever again, as in, "So-and-so was not chosen for the Pro Bowl, the lucky bastard." Or "withdrew because of some injury he didn't really have," as in, "He Pro Bowled his way out of the Pro Bowl."
So if nothing else, Sunday made the language a little more vivid. And all you had to endure was this Pro Bowl of a column. In the immortal words of Johnny Rotten at the final Sex Pistols concert, "Do you feel like you've been cheated?"
Of course not. You just got Pro Bowled, is all.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.com