The Pro Bowl, bless its heart, tries to matter.
This time around, the meaningless All-Star game -- now in Orlando instead of Hawaii -- tried another trick by going retro, featuring the NFC stars (led by Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and his staff and seven Cowboys) vs. the AFC stars. For those keeping score, it was AFC 20, NFC 13. ... a final that came after a bizarre closing sequence that featured an interception, a return, a lateral, a fumble, a chase that included Tyron Smith and a recovery that did or did not include Dez Bryant.
We can call the game "meaningless,'' but it's fun to watch some of the players kinda care. ... including Tyron and Kirk Cousins, the Washington QB who strips the ball ...
And then the scramble, Bryant's involvement, and Garrett's harsh words.
Hey, if you're gonna play the game, you might as well care a little bit.
Rookie QB Dak Prescott started the contest for the NFC and finished 7-of 13 passing for 52 yards. Fellow Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball eight times for 20 yards but failed to score on a couple of goal-line runs. Bryant had five catches for 59 yards. Tyron, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin all lined up along the offensive line and linebacker Sean Lee recorded tackle.
But the Cowboys' biggest impact here wasn't in stats; it was in charisma. All week long, cameras focused on Dak, Zeke and Dez. And when the notion of Odell Beckham Jr. someday leaving the Giants was raised via social media, the idea of Dez' buddy leaving New York to come to Dallas went viral.
Dez Jr. hung around ... and a camera found him.
A fan ran onto the field ... and a camera -- along with Zeke -- found him.
ESPN's Jon Gruden articulated a view that is expressed by all those cameras and evidenced by a season's worth of ratings when he concluded an interview with Dak and Zeke.
"You're the face of the league,'' Gruden told the two rookie Cowboys. "Keep it going."