Monday, January 28, 2013

The Pro Bowl

I begin work each day the same way. I stow my shoulder bag under the desk, take off my coat and then head into the break room to get a cup of water from the cooler and scan the headlines of the Seattle Times that's usually on one of the lunch tables. Today top of the fold there was a color photo of Russell Wilson and a few words announcing his standout performance in yesterday's Pro Bowl. Intrigued I skipped to C section and read the first several paragraphs of Oskar Garcia's AP story. Wilson was 8 of 10 passing for 98 yards and three touchdowns. But what caught my eye was the following quote: "Whether the NFL's all-star game will return next season is a something the league will ponder the next few months after the NFC's 62-35 blowout of the AFC on Sunday." I folded the Sports section back into the center of the paper and returned to my desk.

Walking up to the Douglass Truth Library at lunch I thought about the last Pro Bowl that I remember watching, and that was the 1985 Pro Bowl. And the only reason I remember it is because Mark Gastineau delivered a cheap, vicious hit to Joe Montana and it pissed me off. I and my ex-wife, who was my live-in girlfriend at the time, had returned from the grocery store. It was a beautiful, sunny late January day in Berkeley, and I think I had just turned on the TV when Gastineau, no doubt with cocaine and steroids coursing through his veins, blindsided Montana. And I remember that Montana didn't appreciate it.

On leaving work this evening I stopped off in the break room and grabbed the Sports page and put it in my bag to read when I got home. I wanted to finish the story to see if it was in fact a possibility that the Pro Bowl will be eliminated. Upon arriving home after a brief stop at the Capitol Hill library this is what I found out from Oskar Garcia: "Roger Goodell has said the Pro Bowl won't be played again if play didn't improve this year. Last year, fans in Hawaii booed as linemen were clearly not trying."

Don't worry. The Pro Bowl will be around for a long time.

The question that I have is what happened to the old telecasts of the East versus West AFL All-Star Game? The last one was played in January of 1970, prior to the merger with the NFL, in the Astrodome. Were recordings of these games made? Were they saved? Are they accessible? The NFL probably has them under lock and key (like everything else). Last year I was able to stream old episodes of NFL Game of Week on hulu. Now, no more.

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