It will be hard—achingly hard, if not nigh-impossible—for you, a committed sports fan, to divert your attention away from the luminous spectacle of competitive purity that is the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl, presented by McDonald's.
It's a nightmare. Once-defiant competitors, confidently pounding away at the NFL's midsection with Harry Potter movies and Golden Girls reruns, shrink away from the ratings behemoth that is the pre-Super Bowl all-star showcase, hosted (as if aligned by the very forces of fate) at the Mecca of American football, University of Phoenix Stadium in, um, Glendale, Ariz. In prime time.
What can they do? What, I ask, can they do? No mere hundredth showing of The Shawshank Redemption can possibly penetrate the hide of this hulking beast. No Futurama, no Caddyshack can hope to share the floor with the Pro Bowl. Hopeless! Hopeless. When Andy Dalton and C.J. Anderson share a football field, folks, God himself has to buy ad time.
In recognition of the outrageousness of the task before us—the sheer futility of drawing your eyes away from this vital moment in human history—we hereby offer a carefully culled selection of those programming options that objectively and undeniably approach the Pro Bowl's level of quality, spectacle, and cultural significance.
4:30 p.m. — NBCSN — NHL All-Star Game
You knew there was another major sport all-star game today, right?
4:30 p.m. — ESPN3 — Women's College Basketball: Vermont @ UMass Lowell
The 3-15 Catamounts of Vermont take on the 7-12 River Hawks of UMass Lowell in an American East Conference showdown for the ages.
6 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Pacers @ Magic
Chris Copeland, Donald Sloan, Ben Gordon, and Kyle O'Quinn on the same floor at the same time, from hopping Orlando. The quality of basketball on display in this game has every chance of rising to the level of the Pro Bowl's relative magnificence.
6:30 p.m. — ESPN3 — Something Called X-Games Athens: Wiz Khalifa
I don't know about you guys, but when MTV Europe Music Awards-nominated rapper and/or character from The Silmarillion Wiz Khalifa shows up at the world's premier extreme-sports showcase, even the Pro Bowl will have a hard time topping that.
7 p.m. — ESPN3 — Australian Open Tennis: Court 6 (Day 8)
Court 6! You guys! Court 6. Court. Six. Six. S-I-X.
8 p.m. — CBS Sports Network — Bull Riding
Male cows, with men riding them. For up to eight seconds at a time. Amid heroic, self-sacrificing clowns. Astonishingly, this is not a Cirque du Soleil production.
7 p.m. — Discovery Life — Hoarding: Buried Alive
Here's a show with legs. I saw an episode in which a junk collector had filled his residence with heaps of useless junk, to the great distress of his loved ones. Now, this was just one episode—imagine what these creative geniuses might have in store for the rest of this night-long marathon!
7 p.m. — H2 — Cryptid: The Swamp Beast
Residents of a remote Southern town—always a reliably clear-thinking, credible demographic—report an alarming uptick in livestock attacks by a creature known, ominously, as the "Skunk Ape." This penetrating, barely fictionalized blend of legend, folklore, and totally legit eyewitness accounts follows a small animal-control business as they track this abomination through the wilderness.
8 p.m. — PBS — The Great British Baking Show
As if you need any other reason to watch a baking show, British people (I swear I'm not making this up) call pretty much anything that goes into an oven and then comes out some time later a "pudding." Blood sausage? Pudding! Sponge cake? Pudding!
Also, they eat something called "spotted dick."
8 p.m. — QVC — In the Kitchen With David
You might remember "accomplished home cook" David Venable from appearances in The Chew and Women's World, or from his hosting of Oprah's O You! event in 2011. Here, he shows his chops as QVC's "resident foodie" by selling viewers the kinds of kitchen gadgets that will one day be featured at community rummage sales with resale values upwards of $10.
8 p.m. — Jewelry Television — Belle Luce Jewelry Valentine Gifts
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. This totally not random day in frigid February is the most romantic time of the year, and it is up to you to ensure that, amid all the expressions of sincere and enduring love that surround CVS shoppers on this day, your personal significant other will not suddenly come to wonder why someone with whom they share an actual intimate relationship hasn't purchased for her (or him!) a token expression of infatuation representative of nothing so much as the commanding cultural influence of consumerism. Never fear: You're sure to find exactly the symbol of your wholly unique love and admiration for your spouse in this day-long televised craft-fair booth.
8 p.m. — Buzz TV — Best Vacuum Ever!
7:29 p.m. — Comedy Central — Employee of the Month
Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson, and Dax Shepard headline this timeless romp about a love triangle and madcap hijinks at a big-box retailer. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called Employee of the Month a "film" and raved, "There are people who think Cook is funny ...."
7:30 p.m. — POP — Madea's Family Reunion
If there's one thing in all of American art and entertainment that can match the Pro Bowl in sheer moment-to-moment brilliance, it's a Tyler Perry production.
8 p.m. — Hallmark Television — Away & Back
Pinnacle-of-their-career actors Jason Lee, Minka Kelly, and 11-year-old Maggie Elizabeth Jones star in this Hallmark Television original premiere about two adult actors who probably have legitimate causes of action against their agents at this point.
Today's gonna be tough, you guys. Hang in there!
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