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Which would you rather rewatch: Super Bowl 53 or the 2019 Pro Bowl twice?

Wherein we welcome the offseason with a grim would you rather.

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2018 season was wondrous. An explosion of passing offenses led to one of the most exciting years on record, with 12 different quarterbacks throwing for 4,000 yards or more and nine more hitting the 3,000 yard barrier. Defensive stars like Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack proved non-quarterbacks can swing the balance of a game with a single play. The two conference championship games, the battles that decided which teams would play in the most prestigious contest of the year, each went to overtime and left no shortage of amazing and baffling plays in their wake.

Then things cooled down a bit. The NFL’s boiling water was thrown into the polar vortex of the league’s final two weeks. And the product that came back to earth was a slurry of half-formed snow and a few impressed murmurs as a world wondered “hey, that wasn’t what I ordered.”

The Pro Bowl was, as always, a half-speed exhibition whose only value came from its weirdness. In 2018, that was Drew Brees’ children sparring on the sideline. In 2019, it was Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott bookending the NFC’s second-half pass rush.

On top of that, a driving rainstorm and 45-degree weather made everything suck just a little bit more as players turned down the intensity from 35% to 20% — with the exception of Jamal Adams. Still; it’s the Pro Bowl, the room temperature shrimp cocktail guests politely pick at while waiting for the prime rib of the NFL title game.

But everyone’s steaks came out broiled to a crisp and covered in ketchup. A Super Bowl showdown between two offensive powerhouses turned into a 3.5-hour lecture on the importance of pass rushers. The first big game showdown between the Rams and Patriots paved Tom Brady’s road to greatness. The latest earned him his record sixth NFL title, but kept Joe Montana firmly ahead of him on the list of great Super Bowl performers.

So if you had to watch one of them again, which would you choose?

First, some ground rules. You aren’t just watching the Super Bowl game — you’re getting the full 3:37 broadcast experience; aborted passing plays, commercials, and Adam Levine’s sedated strip tease. To make up for that, you’ve got to watch the 2019 Pro Bowl twice. That means some commercials, but the same 217-minute, Cecil B DeMille’s The Ten Commandments runtime it took to get through CBS’s showing of the biggest letdown of the year.

What’s your poison? A low-wattage chess match highlighted by bad throws, missed open receivers, and the steady disintegration of the Rams’ defense in the fourth quarter? Or a meaningless game whose greatest effort came from the lengths Eric Ebron took to interview-bomb his own quarterback?

The case for: Super Bowl 53

We’ve already covered how I’m the worst, right? While I’m not about to go out and call the world wrong for thinking this game was ugly, I’m still capable of finding the beauty behind the tireless blocking that made New England’s fourth-quarter offensive explosion (10 of the game’s 16 points!) possible.

And it wasn’t like Super Bowl 53 was without drama. It was a one-possession game for more than 58 minutes. Sure, the biggest play of the game was an interception from an overwhelmed 24-year-old quarterback, but it was the product of 50+ minutes of blitzes that preceded it. It wasn’t just chaos — it was part of a master recipe. Unfortunately for the world, the majority of that plan was spent waiting for water to boil while slowly coming to the realization the rest of the kitchen was on fire.

The action on the field wasn’t fun, but we got a classic Julian Edelman/Rob Gronkowski performance on one side of the ball and a typical Dont’a Hightower leveling up on the other. Super Bowl 53 ranks near the bottom of all-time Patriots Super Bowls (but still ahead of Super Bowl XX’s 46-10 defeat, at the very least). It’s still a Super Bowl, though. And that makes it better than any Pro Bowl ever played. — Christian D’Andrea

The case for: the 2019 Pro Bowl (twice)

Hmmm, let’s see. In one, we have Patrick Mahomes. Running backs rushing the passer. Jalen Ramsey catching a touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson. Jason Garrett maybe showing human-like emotions? Jason Witten buffoonishly breaking a trophy in the perfect homage to his debut season as an announcer.

And no Patriots or Adam Levine nips.

In the other, we have Patriots and Adam Levine nips.

It’s been almost two weeks since the Pro Bowl aired. I watched every second of it and it was the exact kind of stupid fun the Pro Bowl should be — and that no one should ever take seriously. I would watch it again right now if it were on ... OK, that’s a lie. BUT, I would definitely watch it a couple more times instead of watching a Super Bowl that I’ve mostly — and blissfully — forgotten in less than a week.

The Pro Bowl gave us this beauty:

The Super Bowl gave us this beauty:

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We shouldn’t expect more from the Super Bowl. There was zero drama or pageantry, on the football field or off. The football itself emitted a strong preseason vibe. Even coward-ass Travis Scott didn’t propose to Kylie Jenner during the halftime show.

It wasn’t even watchable the first time, and it’s pointless to pretend otherwise. The only time I ever felt pure delight on Sunday night was when the “NFL 100” commercial aired.

Now that I think of it, can I just rewatch that 100 times instead? — Sarah Hardy


Which would you rather watch this weekend

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    One full replay of the entire Super Bowl 53 broadcast
    (157 votes)
  • 55%
    The 2019 Pro Bowl ...twice
    (198 votes)
355 votes total Vote Now