Today I am taking a break from all things Pittsburgh Steelers and instead I’d like to offer up ten ideas to make the NFL somewhat fun again. Some of the ideas range from the practical to wishful, but allow me to dream.
1. Goodbye Goodell. I am not a Goodell fan, I think he’s bad for the NFL no matter how noble his intentions. Since taking over for Paul Tagliabue, Goodell’s NFL can be best compared to the Soviet Union’s Iron Curtain during the height of the Cold War. While he’s not the worst commissioner in sports (Bud Selig is absolute garbage and David Stern lets the inmates run the asylum), Goodell talks one game and tries to play another. I’m a little (make that very) tired of his puffed out chest and I’m-the-sheriff attitude. How can you say you are all for player safety yet want to add two games to the regular season?
Solution? Give he and every commissioner in sports an eight year term and that’s it. If the President of the United States can only serve two terms, why should commissioners of major sports be different? Let Sheriff Goodell have his eight years and let him ride off into the sunset, tin badge, ten gallon hat and all.
2. Rotate the NFL draft site. Why does New York always get the fun? Do you really think the players care if they are walking on the stage at Radio City music Hall or town hall? Do what the NHL does and rotate the draft site every year so each of the 32 team cities get to host a draft. Pick a stadium, an arena or whatever. It’d be great fun for the fans. A simple venue works just as well, the draft doesn’t always need to be a cirque de soleil presentation. Besides, I’m sick of hearing the J-e-t-s Jets Jets Jets chant every year whenever gang green comes up to pick.
3.Move the draft to March. News that the 2014 draft will be moved to mid-May due to scheduling conflicts with the Easter Bunny came out yesterday and it’s a very bad idea. Anyone who thinks a May draft won’t be a permanent thing after 2014 obviously still believes there is an Easter Bunny. Back in the old days, the draft was in February. A May draft would mean more analyzing and over analyzing (and more Mike Mayock) and would screw up the NFL calender. Move the draft (Easter Bunny be damned) to March and keep it there. By then the college all star games and combine would be over and teams would have a couple of weeks to make their choices. I know this conflicts with Pro days, but who cares? Make the pro days a week after the combine. There, problem solved.
4.Make preseason games free.O.K., I don’t know how exactly the logistics would work, but one solution is include them for free for season ticket holders in their packages and offer the remaining seats at the games for the rest. And since they are free, they can not be sold for any monetary value on stubhub or ticketmaster. Face it, half the guys playing the pre season games won’t make the team, why force people to pay to watch in person?
5.Keep the pre season schedule as is. Four games, that’s all. First game should be all rookies, rookie free agents, free agents and backups. No starter should take the field in the first game. I don’t need to see Ben Roethlisberger take four meaningless snaps and call it a day. Second pre season game the starters should play a quarter. The third and fourth games they play a half.Yes, the risk of injury is there, but you risk getting injured walking across the street. Every sport needs a preseason to get into shape, run the offense and defense and work on timing, etc. I know most teams keep it vanilla in the pre season but for guys trying to make the team, pre season games may be the only shot they ever get.
6.No more opening day kickoff concerts. The Broncos play the Ravens on Sept. 5th. That’s all we need. We don’t need some stupid half hour or hour long concert prior to it. What does Nickelback or Justin Beiber have to do with football? Just play the damn game.
7. Never, ever let Norv Turner or Wade Phillips be head coaches again. This one really applies to Turner, who for some reason keeps getting head coaching opportunities and does nothing with them. Some guys can do it, others can’t. Turner can’t. Phillips knows defenses, let him do his thing there. This one should be mandatory. Just hearing the words ‘Head Coach Norv Turner” makes me cringe.
8. Place some type of sensor in the football and end zone pylons. This one really is for running plays when there is an air of uncertainty whether or not the ball crossed the goal line. Place a sensor inside each end of the football so if it crosses the pylon, the pylon lights up indicating a score. If technology can allow us to program our TVs with our cell phones, they should be able to handle this.
9. Division rivals should open and close the season. Steelers-Ravens, Packers-Bears, Cowboys-Redskins, Giants-Eagles should all be on the opening and closing day slates. Sometimes these games are scheduled mere weeks apart in the middle of the season. Give some meaning to the last game of the season with an old fashioned rivalry that may even have playoff implications.
10. Let Tom Brady wear a dress already. Injuries are no laughing matter. I’ve watched several HBO sports spots on retired players dealing with the after affects of the game. Ray Easterling, Andre Waters and Junior Seau are just some of the tragic cases of what years of blows to the head can do after their careers end. And yes we’ve all seen how guys like Earl Campbell and Joe Namath and Conrad Dobler can barely walk due to destroyed knees. That said, ever since his knee injury Tom Brady has turned, well, soft. Even if a defender brushes his sleeve,the future hall of famer is whipping his head around towards the ref looking for a penalty. C’mon Tom, I know you’re married to a supermodel, that doesn’t mean you have to act like one. Jack Lambert made the famous quote about putting dresses on quaterbacks, maybe Tom Terrific should be first in line.
10a. O.K. I cheated, but here’s one more. Can we stop referring to Bill Belichick as a genius? Correct me but wasn’t he a defensive guru with the Giants? Name me the last time a Patriots defense terrorized opponents. He’s a good coach, bad dresser and not a genius. Einstein was a genius, Steve Jobs was a genius. Let’s keep it real.
10b. Sorry, I know I said 10. Here is the last one, I promise. Please, someone do something about the NFL network. How many sound fx and top ten marathons can we endure? Why is NFL a.m. on at 1pm? I don’t care about ‘hard knocks’ You have an entire treasure trove of NFL films at your disposal. How about going back in time to show us NFL games of the week from the 70′s and 80′s? Or this week in pro football from the same time period? How about team yearbooks? How about actual vintage games? A game from 2011 is not a classic. We keep getting the same tired “classic games” that are only 5 years old. My God has a network with so much ever done so little? And this top 100 players thing is the pits. And then we get the top 100 reaction show? Garbage. Simply garbage.
What are your ideas fans?
follow me on twitter @scott8871