Picking whether the NFL or NHL has the worst all-star game on Sunday is tougher than choosing which Kardashian sister is silliest.
Absent stars, second-rate entertainment and weak TV ratings make it a double-header of dullness.
The NHL is missing megastars Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla. The NFL is sans 13 players, including Green Bay and Pittsburgh selections heading for the Super Bowl. When three members of Washington's 31st-ranked defense are on the NFC squad, quality has been replaced by quantity.
Hockey is letting team captains pick sides. Football is down to shirts vs. skins.
The two sports couldn't even find top-name entertainers to distract fans. The NHL is using local Clay Aiken since the Carolina Hurricanes are hosting the game. The "American Idol" runner-up performed in "Spamalot" for goodness sakes. And 3 Doors Down, a downer of a band without a hit in six years, is the big name? What, the Monkees wouldn't reunite?
The NFL actually managed an "American Idol" winner, but it's Kris Allen. The weakest victor ever in the nine-year series is a cracked note away from performing at Kings Dominion this summer. The Goo Goo Dolls were big in the 1990s when some of these players were saying "goo goo."
Then there's who's watching. Rather, who's not watching. Before skipping the All-Star Game last year because of the Olympics, the NHL drew a 0.8 rating in 2009 -- roughly 2 million people -- down from a 4.1 rating in 1996. The NFL actually rose from 8.8 million viewers in 2009 to 13.2 million last year when it moved the game to the Sunday before the Super Bowl rather than the traditional week afterward. But that's one-third of the viewership of the conference championships.
The NHL may have hurt its All-Star Game by creating the Winter Classic. The Washington Capitals' 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins drew 4.65 million. It felt like a championship game. Maybe some viewers will spill over to watch the All-Star Game, but the New Year's Day event weakens the All-Star Game.
Both games lack any drama. The NHL is a shootout. It was 12-11 in 2009. Did they even have goalies and defensemen or just play two offensive lines per side? Everyone loves scoring, but that's ridiculous.
The Pro Bowl is no better. When Redskins safety Sean Taylor lit up a punter in 2006, he was partly chastised for breaking the code of no full-speed effort. That's fine, but fans see through the flag football mentality. The NFL should just have a passing drill like baseball's home run derby and be done with the game.
Certainly, the NFL is hurt by not playing at midseason, and the injury risk forces a lackluster game. Maybe it's time to retire the once-needed money-maker and just mail players their trophies. Then everyone would feel special.
Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more at TheRickSniderReport.com and on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or e-mail email@example.com.