Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The 2008 NFL Fashion Show

It’s time for that annual gathering of NFL stars in Hawaii again. As usual, it’s supposed to act as the climax to a long season. But as usual, it won’t. If you can find an all star game in any league that’s packed full of expectation and excitement, let me know, because maybe I’m missing out on something. The last time I found myself intrigued by any of those all star affairs, I still hadn’t sprouted a single pubic hair.

Baseball tried to give something to play for. The winning league receives home field advantage in the world series. And just as quickly as they added this new incentive, is a quickly as no one cared. It’s a popularity contest, and I don’t care which league it is, someone deserving always gets snubbed for someone less deserving with more national recognition.

The theme for this year’s fashion show is "South Western wear". You know the saying, “that everything is bigger in Texas”, and this includes the number of cowboys on the Pro Bowl roster. I can certainly say that many of the Boys are deserving, but can anyone tell me how Roy Williams got there? Besides for a recognizable face and name, what were his achievements of 2007? All I’ve managed to see him achieving is a lot of resentment by his own Dallas following, wondering why he’s on the field and who they can possibly trade for him in the offseason.

One Texas Star is noticeably missing, and he doesn’t play in Dallas. I guess it’s going to take a long time before the league and fans give Houston’s Mario Williams any respect. The Texans were criticized for drafting him first, and analysts were critical of his first year play. But in 2007, Mario emerged as everything he was expected to be. He leads the AFC in sacks, yet he’s not on the AFC pro bowl roster. He’s hit and hurried QBs all season, and plugged running backs for short yardage. In other words, he did his job to the point where he was demanding double teams. But doing your job, and being the best at it, isn’t enough. This Texan parades the fashion show in Winter wear, left out in the cold with a face hidden beneath a hood, still a virtual unknown in the football world.

And what about Wes Welker? You don’t have to like the Patriots, but how could you not make a case for Welker’s snub in Hawaii. Sure he plays opposite Randy Moss, which is supposed to add to his production, but T.J. Houshmandzadeh plays opposite Chad Johnson, and T.J’s going to Hawaii. Welker has more receiving yardage than T.J, and was detrimental to his team’s success. With each having 112 receptions, Houshmandzadeh and Welker tied for the league lead. Welker was also the leading receiver for the Pats in the postseason.

I know Pro Bowl selections are made before the playoffs begin, but substitutions can come at any time. Randy Moss pulled out, and the AFC had the perfect opportunity to display both receptions leaders on the Pro Bowl roster, but again skipped over Welker, choosing Braylon Edwards instead. Again it comes down to which is more fashionable for wearing, and which garment will most impress your friends. You have Edwards, the 3rd pick in the first round of the 2005 draft (first receiver taken overall), and you have Welker that you managed to pick up at a Miami Dolphins yard sale. Which of the two would you wear to an NFL formal gathering?

Is the Pro Bowl a display of the NFL’s best talents? No. It’s a fashion statement, and the recognition of the brand is more important than the quality of the fabric. Is there any wonder to why it’s slowly falling apart?

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