Commentary

Power Rankings: Pro Bowl edition

Originally Published: February 1, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

It's time for face time with another edition of the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll conducted by ESPN Page 2's Gregory Hardy, and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, the computer we tapped was made at the same place Toyota made their old gas pedals. Sorry, it's too late for the Worldwide Leader to issue a recall on this column. To the results!

1. The Pro Bowl

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.9 9.7 19.6

Credentials: Roger Goodell blew it. Sure, the NFL commissioner rolled the dice by moving the Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Miami to help boost visibility for a game that's annually invisible. But with so many first- and second-string All-Stars bowing out because of Super Bowl commitments and injuries, Sunday night's rosters looked like a Week 9 fantasy football matchup between the guys who picked fifth and seventh in your league draft. "Whew, lucky I picked up David Garrard off the waiver wire, huh?" Mr. Goodell, please return to the prestige of your Hawaiian Pro Bowl heritage, even if you have to lie to us. If NASA could fake the moon landings on a Burbank sound stage, I'm sure you can rent out an airplane hangar someplace to stage a game where mountains, rainbows and palm trees are digitally pasted into the background to fool the TV audience.


2. Grammy Divas

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.8 9.0 18.8

Credentials: Beyonce. Lady Gaga. Rihanna. Taylor Swift. Pink. Stevie Nicks. Roberta Flack. Of course the awards show had to lean heavily on these incredible ladies to provide the diva moments for Sunday night's music awards -- the NFL's wide receivers were busy in Miami for the Pro Bowl.


3. Miss America

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.1 8.7 17.8

Credentials: While we heartily congratulate Miss Virginia for winning the 2010 crown, we have some choice words for those who accuse the pageant of having lost a lot of luster on its tiara. Sure, it's moved from its original home of Atlantic City to Las Vegas. And it's now relegated to deep cable rather than a broadcast network. But at least it's still being won by talented young women from actual states of the Union. Now, maybe if some year it's won by a 57-year-old Miss Saskatchewan who weighs twice as much as Misses North and South Carolina combined, then yeah, maybe then it will have lost its luster.


4. Indianapolis Injuries

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.9 8.6 17.5

Credentials: Nothing can hurt Peyton Manning's chances for winning his second Super Bowl MVP trophy, right? Nothing, that is, except maybe if Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney can't put weight on his right ankle. That's kinda vital when sprinting to nail Drew Brees in the backfield Sunday. Since Freeney's health status could go in any direction the rest of the week, the Colts might as well have Manning read their daily injury report -- which includes audibilzing fake health status reports just to throw off the Saints' plans: "Freeney is questionable! Questionable! DOUBTFUL! DOUBTFUL! Probable, probable, proba-- out! Out! Out! Questionable, hike!"


5. Tim Tebow Stock

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.6 7.5 15.1

Credentials: Like any commodity on the open market, the question is: Should we in the market buy or sell? The ex-Florida quarterback clearly dropped several points in early trading after lackluster results in front of NFL scouts at the Senior Bowl. And starring in an advocacy commercial backed by a religious group during the Super Bowl is sure to polarize market analysts. So before fans call their brokers, let's make one warning: Tebow, if you make a "promise" to succeed as a quarterback in the NFL but don't intend to live up to it, that could be viewed as insider trading. Please don't be tempted.


6. 3-D Soccer

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.8 6.7 14.5

Credentials: Here's the latest British invasion: Sky previewed its new-wave 3-D channel by broadcasting a live Manchester United-Arsenal game with all the effects in focus. American broadcasters are already scrambling to bring 3-D sports to U.S. markets, with an emphasis on these three things: 1. Making sure your cable bill goes up three times as much; 2. Making sure the service is completely unavailable in a three-state region for the foreseeable future; and 3. Making sure the final image looks as blurry as the eyesight of a British soccer fan downing three pints at a time throughout the game.


7. Andy Murray

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.4 11.2

Credentials: Ouch! You got destroyed by Roger Federer in the Australian Open finals. No British tennis player has won a Grand Slam event since 1936. We're going to go out on a limb here and say no British man will ever win a Grand Slam title in our lifetime. So, Andy, don't even think about trying to win Wimbledon. That's too obvious. International tennis fans will accuse you and your countrymen of rigging the tournament. It's called home cooking, and I think anyone who has a problem with the British will tell you that the British Isles and home cooking just do not go together.


8. Kentucky Wildcats

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 5.5 10.6

Credentials: So how did that No. 1 ranking go last week? Not so good, huh? Careful about blaming it on Obama for jinxing you with a phone call to congratulate you on your Haiti fundraising on the afternoon before the South Carolina game. Remember, the president's got an army at his disposal. He can turn Rupp Arena into a crater faster than you can say, "Well, we knew we were going to lose games at some point this year anyway." No excuses!


9. NBA and Guns

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.4 9.6

Credentials: Listen, people, this whole Nike ad thing is one big misunderstanding. When Kobe says in the print ad for the "Prepare for Combat" campaign that "I don't leave anything in the chamber," that phrase genuinely has nothing to do with guns and bullet chambers. It's an expression from pickup games at senior-citizen centers. When they say they don't "leave anything in the chamber," they mean the four chambers of the heart. You know, left and right atriums and ventricles. As in, they play until there is literally no blood left to pump through their hearts. Those geezers may look slow, but they take their "sudden death" games seriously.


10. Shaun White's Face

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 4.9 8.9

Credentials: Yes, the Double McTwist 1260 is Shaun White's hardest stunt ever. No, the routine is not designed for him to plow down face-first onto the pipe. But ladies now have a genuine reason to ask whether he's ever landed on his face during a routine. Before if you asked that, it was just cruel.


11. "Cheating" Mickelson

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.9 4.1 8.0

Credentials: First of all, we don't mean cheating like Tiger's cheating. We mean pro golfers are giving Lefty grief that he's allowed to use an older wedge with square grooves, while new rules mandate a V wedge. Give us a break. The people who are complaining are clearly missing two things: First, if the people who make the rules say Phil is allowed to swing it, it's not cheating! How hard is that to understand? Second, the people who are complaining clearly don't follow other golfers on the tour as closely as they should. If Mickelson were "cheating," wouldn't he win a lot more often?


12. Kurt Warner

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.4 3.4 6.8

Credentials: Congratulations on your retirement, and we look forward to your no-brainer acceptance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. May we make one suggestion about what you can do with your spare time? A lot of ex-jocks try to open vanity restaurants, but those typically fold quickly. You can once again set yourself ahead of the pack by opening your own chain of … supermarkets. Think of it! "Kurt's Kwik Groceries and Football Clinic" can be the training home for the next generation of QB heroes, featuring super bargain prices through the store each week! Evidently, there's something about stocking grocery shelves that makes a young boy an honest man.


13. Charles Barkley, Taco Bell Poet

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.4 3.5 5.9

Credentials: What a great concept to have Sir Charles as the new spokesman for Taco Bell. But we're thinking there were two hazards to overcome while filming this new masterpiece commercial: One, the food on the set had to be props instead of real food, or else nobody got out of that shoot anywhere within 18 hours. Two, none of the versions of the commercial should include Barkley driving around an entertainment district at 2 a.m. and being pulled over by a cop.


Also receiving votes:
• Don Shula: A statue of the legendary Miami coach was unveiled at the team's stadium that celebrates the Dolphins' perfect season. All we're asking is that someone give him advance warning of at least two days if a Jimmy Johnson statue is going to be erected right next to it.

• J.D. Salinger: The saddest part of his passing was that he was on the verge of signing a deal to be a guest contributor to the ESPN.com Page 2 Power Rankings. The last part being ironed out was how he would juggle his TV appearances among "Around the Horn," "PTI," "First Take," "Outside the Lines," and the morning and evening "SportsCenters." He was very insistent on making up for the time he lost outside the media spotlight.

Never receiving votes:
• National signing day versus Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona: You tell us which event features the largest disparity between excitement for the participants and the excruciating pain of being forced to watch it if you don't want to.

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.

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Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.