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The Best Show Ever?

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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 23: James van Riemsdyk #25 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2019 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at the Lincoln Financial Field on February 23, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Flyers are back in a stadium series game. Next season, they will play the Devils at Metlife Stadium as part of a series that will also include an Islanders Rangers game. The last time the Flyers played one of these outdoor games was back in 2021 when they got rolled by the Bruins in Nevada in an ugly 7-3 game. Given how good the Devils were this past year, and the fact the Flyers are going into a rebuild, the result may not be much prettier in this game.

The thing is, these Stadium Series games, kind of suck. Hockey does not lend itself well to being played outdoors. The ice always kind of sucks. The games are never that interesting. Weather can often play a factor. If you are at the game the views are never that great. The Stadium Series sounds great on paper, but in practice it is often disappointing. It was cool when it was unique. Like when it was just the Winter Classic. But now they do it too much. Do we really need a team like the Flyers, who won’t be good next year, in one of these games?

Which had me thinking, what are some other sporting events that either lack the luster they used to have, or were never that great to begin with? The things that their league plays up like they are a big deal, but in reality, just are not that much fun to watch.

From All-Star Games, to Award Shows, to one-off events, and more. These events just don’t get it done. Here are 11 sporting events other than The Stadium Series that just are not that good.

  • Rose Bowl, And All College Bowl Games That Aren't The Playoffs

    Ever since they instituted the playoffs, every other Bowl game just lacks any luster. The Rose Bowl used to be a big deal. Did anyone other than Penn State or Utah fans care about it last year? They have taken to calling the first games in the Playoffs The Peach Bowl and The Fiesta Bowl. So those Bowl games still matter. But that is only because those games decide who advances to the Championship game. The Orange Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and all those other Bowls that used to be a big deal, they don’t matter much anymore though.

    A lot of the best players don’t even play in them anymore. The guys projected to go high, often opt out. Because why would they risk injury in what is essentially an exhibition game now?

    The NCAA should do something to fix this. It is a shame The Rose Bowl doesn’t have the same luster it used to. It’s been reduced to being no better than the random bowls like the Belko Bowl or The Pinstripe Bowl. But for now, the draw just isn’t there.

    PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 02: The Penn State Nittany Lions celebrate after defeating the Utah Utes in the 2023 Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 02, 2023 in Pasadena, California. The Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Utah Utes with a score of 35 to 21.

    (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • Slam Dunk Contest

    Mac McClung made it kind of fun last year. Even if most people had no clue who he was. But in general, it has fallen a long way. We almost never see the top players in the league do it anymore. Those guys just don’t want to participate. The era of Vince Carter, or Dwight Howard is over. Now it is G League players, and guys at the end of the bench. To their credit, sometimes they put on a show. But what always made it fun was seeing the best of the best compete.

    Mac McClung saved it this past season. But in most recent years, it has been a disappointment. It is also just getting harder and harder to do things we have not seen before. There are only so many ways you can dunk a Basketball. Dunking over a car was cool. But when you see it multiple times, it gets less and less impressive.

  • Every All-Star Game

    Why do All-Star Games suck so badly? Seeing the best of the best compete against each other should be fun. But in every league, it has become kind of a joke. No one tries in any of them. Which again, is fair enough considering its an exhibition and why would you risk injury to gain nothing? But that fact doesn’t make these games any more fun to watch. The Pro Bowl was so bad they got rid of it. No defense is played in the NBA game. The NHL is not much better.

    MLB used to be the lone standout. But now that it no longer decides home-field, it isn’t much fun either. Not saying that they should make it determine home-field advantage again. But now that its just another exhibition game, there is no reason for the players to try, or for the fans to care.

    SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - FEBRUARY 19: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks during the first quarter in the 2023 NBA All Star Game between Team Giannis and Team LeBron at Vivint Arena on February 19, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    (Photo by Kyle Terada – Pool/Getty Images)

  • All Drafts Besides The NFL

    The NFL Draft might be the best sporting event that is not a game. Especially opening night, it is great television. The other leagues? Not so much. The issue the MLB and NHL have is most of the players won’t be seen for a while, if ever. So many high picks in the MLB never see a Major League field. And in hockey, a lot of guys spend the first couple of years after being drafted in the minors or in college.

    The NBA should be able to match the NFL. But the thing that has always held it back for me, is the way trades work. You can’t even get excited about some picks, because that guy might end up getting traded a few picks later. In the NFL, there are trades, but once a guy is picked you usually know that is the team they are playing for. The NBA will have a guy get drafted, go up, and put on a Sixers hat, just for him to be traded 6 picks later. Yes, I am talking about Mikal Bridges. It’s a joke they do that to these guys. But that is not the only case of that happening.

    Plus Woj and Shams ruin it anyway by spoiling every draft pick before it is announced. That happens a bit in the NFL too, but not to the same extent.

  • Draft Lotteries

    In that same vein, The Draft Lotteries in both the NBA and NHL are not fun to watch at all. Maybe if you are one of those top teams with a shot at a generational player you care. But the way those leagues present it lacks drama. Imagine if the NFL had a draft lottery. They wouldn’t because Draft Lotteries are awful. But if they did, it would be a spectacle. But for the NBA and NHL, it is just kind of boring. it is one of those things you can just look at Twitter and see the results, the broadcast doesn’t add anything too it.

  • Selection Sunday

    Selection Sunday is a huge deal for the teams getting selected to the NCAA Tourney. Especially those teams that are on the bubble, or have maybe never played in the Tournament before. If you are at home watching though, unless you are a fan of one of those teams, it is not that interesting. For one it all often gets spoiled before it is announced anyway.

  • Thursday Night Football

    I dont know if it qualifies as overrated because most fans agree that it sucks, but Thursday Night Football belongs on this list. The NFL is dedicated to making it a big deal. But no matter what they do, no one seems to care. Even when it is two good teams, the product is never very good. Which makes sense. You are asking guys to turn around 3 days after playing to get on the field again. They haven’t recovered yet. They haven’t had time to game plan effectively for the other team.

    Thursday Football works when it is the first game of the year. It works on Thanksgiving. Making it an every week thing though, does not. It won’t go away. The NFL likes money too much and having another primetime game means a lot of money. But while the NFL adds more billions, we get stuck with a crappy game.

    Putting it on Apple TV does not make it any better. In fact, it has arguably been worse. The players hate it, the fans hate it. But the NFL loves it, so it is here to stay.


  • Army- Navy Game

    Okay, this one can obviously get tricky. So let me just say there is purely because of the on-field product, not anything to do with the pageantry that surrounds the event. Army-Navy games should be fun. The issue is neither team has been very good recently. They both run non-entertaining Triple Option offenses. There were 53 total passing yards in the last Army-Navy game. Navy threw 3 total passes.  It does not make for entertaining football to see guys move down the field 4 yards at a time, then either kick a field goal or punt.

    All the stuff around it is awesome. I just wish the game itself was good.

  • The Espys

    Does anyone enjoy the ESPYs? Award Shows in general are a bit of a chore. A Sports Award Show is somehow even worse though. The host is never funny. No one takes the awards given out seriously. Can you even remember what ESPY any player won? Or hell, can you name one award given out at the ESPYs? Probably not.

    It’s not overrated per se, because no one seems to like it. But it is something that continues to happen every year, so obviously someone is watching it. The one good thing that ever came out of it was the joke about Ben Simmons having so many bricks he can build homes for the needy. Even that bit was a bit awkward in the moment.

  • In Season College Basketball Tournaments

    The NCAA tries to spice up the early period of College Basketball with in-season tournaments across conferences. It does not work. Does anyone care who wins the ACC-Big 10 Challenge? I know I don’t. I mean I really could have just put all College Basketball before in-conference play here because none of the out-of-conference play really matters. But it’s the fact that they try to make these in-season tournaments a big deal that makes it worse.

  • Soccer Friendlies

    The concept of Manchester City coming to Philly to play the Union, or a friendly match vs another Premiere League team is cool. In practice though, they are never that fun. It’s not like Eling Haaland is playing and putting on a show. Often it ends up being the deep bench guys no one cares to see play anyway. It just goes back to the thing we said was an issue with the Bowl Games or All-Star games. It’s an exhibition. And Exhibitions in Pro Sports will never be that great because no Pro Athlete will risk it for a game that does not matter.

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