If you ask me, the NFL should keep its replacement refs and
replace dang near everything else, for the league will be great
again only if it implements--immediately--the following changes.
The collective weight of a team on the field shall henceforth
not exceed 2,750 pounds (i.e., 250 pounds x 11 men). If the Rams
want their offensive linemen to average four bills, fine. But
their starting backfield will include, as a consequence, Don
Knotts, Kate Moss and Gary Coleman.
Coaches will dress like adults again, as they still do in hockey
and basketball. What ever happened to jackets and ties and
fedoras? Even Vince Lombardi--in Columbo topcoat, Great Flood
khakis and Spot-bilt shoes with the tongues turned down--had an
elegance that's missing from current coaches, who are poured into
polypropylene pullovers like gelatin into a mold. If, say, Eagles
coach Andy Reid insists on stalking the sideline in a Crayola
pack of colors, he may do so. However, he should, at the very
least, have to enter the stadium in a Volkswagen Beetle, jammed
with other circus clowns.
Punters and placekickers will be required to play--in every
game--at least four downs at another position. The sight of Ravens
linebacker Ray Lewis giving Vikings kicker Gary Anderson a snot
bubble will be exceeded, in entertainment value, only by the
vision of pancaked Raiders placekicker Sebastian Janikowski being
peeled from the field like a Fruit Roll-Up.
Speaking of Lewis, he shall immediately retire his pregame dance,
which has long resembled a ritual goat slaughter performed by
Santeria priests. Or, failing that, he shall take his unseemly
act one small step further and sacrifice a live lemur on the
On the other hand: Any player scoring his first career touchdown
will be allowed--indeed, required--to celebrate in the wildly
excessive manner of contestants on a Mexican game show. After
all, how can you be expected, upon entering the end zone, to
"act like you've been there before" if, in fact, you've never
been there before?
Television viewers will no longer be rewarded for staying home.
Instead of enjoying highlights from around the league at
halftime, they'll be treated to traditional in-stadium
entertainment: Lucky couch potatoes will see the Florida A&M
marching band; unlucky ones, Up with People.
The league shall henceforth conduct random drug testing on
players' wives. It will suspend those spouses who test positive
for any of the following substances: Aqua Net Super Hold,
Maybelline Whiplash Mascara and Clairol Platinum Blonde Number 9.
The Bengals will be required to give each ticket holder, on Fan
Appreciation Day, something he or she can use: an oversized
novelty foam rubber hand with raised middle finger.
In an effort to kill broadcasters and closed-captioners alike,
two expansion teams shall be created, and they shall play each
other every week. One team will start Chidi Ahanotu, Tshimanga
Biakabutuka, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Isaiah
Kacyvenski, Brandon Manumaleuna, Tevita Ofahengaue, Shahriar
Pourdanesh, Kimo Von Oelhoffen, Chike Okeafor and Obafemi
Ayanbadejo. The roster of that team's perpetual opponent shall
include Bhawoh Jue, Itula Mili, Mathias Nkwenti, Dat Nguyen,
Chidi Iwuoma, Chukie Nwokorie, Wasswa Serwanga, Chris
Fuamatu-Ma'afala, Brody Heffner-Liddiard, Nate Hobgood-Chittick
and the immortal Az-Zahir Hakim.
All games shall showcase the best of backyard football rules. Two
"do-overs" will be permitted per team, all kick returns will be
conducted "razzle-dazzle" style, and "suckers walk" shall be
enforced after every touchdown. Additionally, Titans All-Pro pass
rusher Jevon Kearse will be required to count, on every snap, to
In gratitude for the aforementioned changes, football fans in
each market shall be required to "give something back" to their
local team. We'll start in Texas, where Dallas County taxpayers
will pledge to pay for all future renovations, reconstructions or
other capital improvements on Jerry Jones's face.
Now I'm ready for some football.
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: DAN PICASSO