One last, final last.That?s how the Pro Bowl has been advertised in recent yearsand after three straight days of football columns, it seems fitting that Istart this one about the pigskin All-Star Game the same way.After two weeks of Super Bowl buildup, the game and all of its post-gameanalysis, you?re probably sick of football talk by now, but that feeling onlymakes my point even stronger. Right now, the thing football fans really need isa break, not another game. Unfortunately, the season?s last (and mostmeaningless) game takes place this weekend, and just when you thought you?dheard every piece of football analysis there is, you?ve still got to getthrough another week of it.The sad thing is that this game should be the most fun towatch. How often is it that fans can root for LaDainian Tomlinson, BrianWestbrook or Reggie Wayne without it affecting the teams they root for or theirfantasy football matchup?The Pro Bowl, however, just doesn?t cut it as a fun All-StarGame.Unlike other sports?, the NFL?s All-Star Game is not playedat midseason, but rather a week after its conclusion. And unlike baseball, theoutcome of the game has no effect on the championship.As it is now, the Pro Bowl is little more than anafterthought on the season. By the time the game rolls around, even the mostardent fans are drained from the exhilarating playoff season, and the Pro Bowlisn?t much to look forward to.The players participating in it are no different. Most areexhausted from the regular season and some from the playoffs, with the resultbeing guys not giving the kind of all-out effort that makes football so greatin the first place.There?s also an evident disconnect having to do with playingthe game in Hawaii. Sure, after a long season of playing in the cold, playingunder Hawaiian sun may be great for the players, announcers and ticket contestwinners. But for fans across the continental states, it makes attending thegame extremely difficult.Overall, the Pro Bowl, despite the potential to be great, isjust a lackluster game. It is too bad that the NFL has to end on such a lownote rather than the high note struck by the Super Bowl.Complaining about the Pro Bowl is easy enough, but what goodwould it be if no solution were offered at the end of it?With the possibility of injuries all too prevalent, it wouldbe impossible to play the game during the season, and playing it before theseason begins doesn?t make any sense either. However, there is another option:play the game the week before the Super Bowl.Loyal readers of ?Smack Talk? may recall that two weeks agoin this space I made light of the downtime that occurred between the leaguechampionship games and the Super Bowl ? and the even longer version that occursafter it. Well, the Pro Bowl doesn?t do much to make this period any better,and the weekend before the big game is pretty boring anyway. So why not takethe opportunity to spice it up?Put it in the city due to host the next year?s Super Bowl(giving the city a practice run at hosting a major sporting event), and don?tallow players who are on the championship teams to play in it.This way, players don?t have to worry about playing the weekafter the Super Bowl, and it gives elite players on poor teams (Jason Taylor,for example) a chance to put on the pads one last time while the sport is stillrelevant.As it is, Tom Brady and Randy Moss will be skipping theSuper Bowl. It?s also a safe bet that the other players that just played inPhoenix and are set to go to Hawaii aren?t too thrilled to delay their offseasonby a week.Playing the game at this time would alter the coachingstaff, but that can be fixed by going with a team that just missed the playoffsand has a coach with a secure job.Both games are played on the same network, so there wouldn?tbe any problem there. And it would be a hard to imagine a situation where thePro Bowl actually took hype away from the Super Bowl.It?s clear that the Pro Bowl is just an afterthought at thispoint, but it doesn?t make sense for the premier league?s most star-studdedgame to be such a downer. If there?s going to be ?one last, final last,? itmight as well be the Super Bowl so the NFL season can go out with the bang itdeserves.?Mike Ackerstein is asophomore majoring in political science. If you?d like to see changes made tothe Pro Bowl, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spark SC hosted their annual Spark Fair Thursday night in the West Annenberg Lobby. At the event, student were able to meet some of USC’s top tech, design and entrepreneurial organizations. The fair hosted Girls in Tech USC, LavaLab, 3D4E, USC Corpus Callosum, Design for America—USC and Code for Change. The fair lasted from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.