The Asinine Award: NFL Pro Bowl

by Patrick Emmel

The NFL Pro Bowl is a selection of the best of the best athletes in football. The NFL Asinine Award is a selection of the worst of the worst plays, players, and decisions.

Being selected to the Pro Bowl is an honor. You may not know it considering how annoying the game itself is and how no-one seems to really want to play in it to the point that commissioner Roger Goodell may turn the selection into official All-Madden teams, but it’s true. Being selected for the Pro Bowl means that you are one the best of the best at your position. There is no honor higher…well, besides NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Towel Boy of the Year…for the sake of argument, let us say there is no higher honor.

So while the Pro Bowl will do its best imitation of a Tecmo Bowl game, we will nominate players, coaches, and officials for an award reserved for those that also entertain us on and off the grid-iron, but for all the wrong reasons. Here are our nominations for the Asinine Award.

The Mark Sanchez Butt-Fumble

...that guy just tackled himself.

…that guy just tackled himself.

Playoff aspirations and the entire season of the New York Jets came to a screeching halt when quarterback Mark Sanchez ran head-first into the backside of offensive lineman Brandon Moore during a loss against the New England Patriots, causing him to lose the ball and give the Patriots an easy touchdown.

The fact that this happened for all the world to see on Thanksgiving made this football blooper stand out even more so, to the point that every publication that covers sports, and even some that don’t, reveled in the comedy of a game error that is usually reserved for sports comedies like Necessary Roughness. The word “asinine” has never fit better, in more ways than one.

The Replacement Refs

Game officials have to make decisions on a questionable call here and again, calls that have players, coaches, and fans foaming at the mouth when it doesn’t go their team’s way.

“Here and again” seemed to be “every damn game” when the replacement refs took over during a strike by the normal officials at the beginning of the NFL season. To be fair, the replacement refs were under a microscope the entire time they were on the field, but when errors range from motioning a penalty at the wrong side of the field to reviewing a catch that would make or break a game and getting it wrong, these individuals have “asinine” written all over them.

Michael Vick, Dog Owner…Again

This is Georgia. Georgia was rescued from Vick's dogfighting den. So...that.

This is Georgia. Georgia was rescued from Vick’s dogfighting den. So…that.

When people heard that Michael Vick had gotten a dog this year, most had to check the date to see if it was April 1st. Alas, it was true, as the quarterback who was incarcerated for 18 months for being part of a dogfighting ring in 2007.

To be fair, Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle had acknowledged that Vick should be allowed to be a dog owner if he reached certain goals of showing that he had learned from his mistakes, and Vick has been a model citizen since that time. That said, it doesn’t make the idea of Michael Vick having a dog in his home any less asinine.

Washington Redskins Coaching & Medical Staff

The rise of Robert Griffin III as a superstar rookie who could continue to battle Andrew Luck to be his draft class’s Hall of Fame player may have come to a grisly end, as the speedly gunslinger suffered a knee injury that all but stymied his play-action strength.

The injury could have been a minor hiccup but, with the Washinton Redskins in a heated battle for the NFC East, coach Mike Shanahan and team physician James Andrews cleared RG3 to play. This resulted in a play against the Seattle Seahawks in the wildcard round of the playoffs that shows RG3’s knee bending at an angle that even double-jointed people couldn’t walk away from.

It remains to be seen if this asinine decision to push RG3 and the Redskins further past their exceeded expectations will push RG3 into the ugly list of the NFL Draft.

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is not necessarily a bad guy. Through all of his Tebowing is a very good football player who, when used correctly, could very well help a team win.

What Tebow is not, as is apparent by remarks from fans, players, coaches, and waterboys, is a very good quarterback. He may not even be very good by CFL standards. Yes, he helped lead the Denver Broncos to the playoffs in 2011, but it had more to do with Denver’s stellar defense and lulling the opposing team to sleep as Tebow acted as a fullback who threw the ball down the field once in a while.

Even this may not have resulted in Tim Tebow’s asinine nomination, except for the fact that he is resilient to playing football in the future at any position except quarterback, making him another prime rewrite in our NFL Draft ugly list.

Tom Brady Sweeps the Leg

There is no debating the fact that the New England Patriots show no mercy when playing football. While running up the score on an opponent may seem disrespectful, NFL players are professional athletes that are the best of the best in their sport. They aren’t players on some Pee-Wee football team just learning the game for the first time. If an NFL team is running up the score, it merely shows that either their offense is legendary or the opponent’s defense just isn’t playing up to their own standards.

That “no mercy” approach took on new meaning during the AFC Championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots when quarterback Tom Brady ran for a few yards before a karate-kick slide that almost smacked Ed Reed in the groin Ndamukong Suh-style. The Sad Tom Brady jokes took a back seat to the latest craze of comparing Tom Brady’s slide to Johnny Lawrence sweeping the leg of Daniel-san in The Karate Kid. It remains to be seen if this asinine play will lead to “Tom Brady Sweeps the Leg” replacing Sad Tom Brady forever.

tebow doug pensingergetty images The Asinine Award: NFL Pro Bowl

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Patrick Emmel is a self-proclaimed sports analyst that aspires to become the next Jim Rome, but hasn’t had the chance to refer to a football player by the name of a female tennis player. You can see more of his work at or heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.

mcfaddens The Asinine Award: NFL Pro Bowl

Like McFadden’s, home of displaced Bills fans.

Patrick previously used his football knowledge to break down the best, worst and downright horrible draft picks in NFL history. –>

He also entered an epic crusade to find a bar for each and every NFL team in New York City to show how unbiased he is.

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