Snap Judgments (cont.)
You have no idea how close I came to pulling a Bryant McKinnie and not showing for the Pro Bowl. But when I found out there would be no penalty whatsoever for my absence, and they'd play the game without me, I figured, 'What's the point?' I'm only going to bail if someone notices. That's my rule.
From what I understand, if there had been a poll taken this week among his fellow NFL players, McKinnie would have been named the most likely to pull an asinine stunt like partying his way off the NFC roster the day before the game. Let's just say people who know him weren't shocked that when he decided to put the club first, it turned out to be a nightclub.
Even his Vikings teammates are known to be disgusted with his act at this point, and I wouldn't be surprised if team owner Zygi Wilf adds his own fine to the one the NFL already is considering against McKinnie. The grounds? First-degree embarrassment of the Vikings organization. A punishable offense.
I can see pulling a McKinnie in maybe the eighth Pro Bowl of one's career. Or at least thinking about it. But on your first trip to the NFL all-star game ... which is being played in your hometown? I'll go out on a limb here and predict that McKinnie will have a tough time getting either the player or fan vote the rest of his career.
Speaking of non-surprising moves, Rex Ryan giving the finger to some vocal Dolphins at a Saturday night MMA event in Miami registers as something less than a shocker. You kind of sign up for the whole package with Ryan -- the good, the bad and the bluster. Not condoning him losing his composure in public, but you can't celebrate Ryan's refreshing unconventionality without occasionally getting the side of it that you'd care to do without.
My question is this: If we're going to jump on Ryan for his exhibition of poor taste, can't we start with his offense of attending an MMA event featuring Herschel Walker in the first place?
McKinnie just announced that even if he had been named to the NFL's All-Decade Team, he wouldn't have been able to take part any way. Something about a party to go to.
A headline I've been dying to see all week: London Fletcher to pull out of the Pro Bowl. Now that would have showed 'em, London.
It would have at least gotten Fletcher a little revenge on the game that has snubbed him for years now. The 34-year-old Redskins middle linebacker has been trying to make this game for his entire 12-year career, and was finally invited as an alternate when the Saints' Jonathan Vilma won his way to the Super Bowl.
This is only the second Pro Bowl I've covered, but there is something I'm surprised I never realized before tonight: Players get to wear their own jersey number in the Pro Bowl, no matter if there's a dozen other No. 92s already on the roster. I exaggerate, but not much. The AFC had three No. 92s: Linebackers Elvis Dumervil (Broncos) and James Harrison (Steelers), as well as Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
That says plenty about the Pro Bowl, where it's all about the merchandising. For some strange reason, Pro Bowl jerseys are big sellers, even though I think the all-star game uniforms have a clownish, NFL Europe-quality.
I would imagine three No. 92s must make it awfully tough on the spotter for the radio broadcasts.
I came up with a novel concept for Sunday night's game, but nobody went for it: Julius Peppers wearing a different team's helmet on every defensive series in the second half, just to see which one he thinks looks best for him next season.
Credit to David Garrard for saying what we were all thinking, in response to a question about how it felt to throw a touchdown pass in his first Pro Bowl appearance: "It's so awesome,'' the Jaguars quarterback said. "One of my goals coming in to the game was to just be relevant and show all the people who said -- 'What is he doing here? The Pro Bowl has dropped off a few pegs' -- that I do belong.''
A few pegs?
49ers defensive end Justin Smith didn't exactly mean it as a putdown, but it was hardly a ringing endorsement of the Pro Bowl, either: "The pace is nice and good, and you don't have to worry about working too hard.''
Somehow, we could tell that.
I have it on good authority that if the NFC had won, Wade Phillips was fully prepared to count the victory as another win in the postseason.
The Pro Bowl crowd left a tad early. I looked up early in the fourth quarter and thought I was at a Marlins game.
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