Column Date 2014-02-16
A MODEST PLAN TO SAVE THE NFL
Do you feel small and insignificant when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around?
Well, you should.
Just take a quick look at some of the players in Super Bowl XLVIII:
For the Denver Broncos
Orlando Franklin, 6’7”, 320 lbs.
Winston Justice, 6’6”, 317 lbs.
Vinston Painter, 6’6”, 309 lbs.
Chris Clark, 6’5”, 305 lbs.
Terrance Knighton, 6’3”, 335 lbs.
Even their quarterback, Peyton Manning is 6’5” tall and weighs 230 pounds.
For the Seattle Seahawks
Breno Giacomini, 6’7”, 318 lbs.
Tony McDaniel , 6’7”, 305 lbs.
Paul McQuistan, 6’6”, 315 lbs.
Russell Okung, 6’5”, 310 lbs.
Michael Bowie, 6’4”, 332 lbs.
Their quarterback, little Russell Wilson, stands 5’11” tall, and weighs in at 206 pounds.
You have to admit that these are really, really large people. And any kid dreaming of playing in the NFL had better have some super-size genes in his family.
I think this is grossly unfair to us ordinary-sized people – hey, we’re still the vast majority in this country – and, frankly, does not bode well for the future of football.
It is obviously one reason why soccer (which the rest of the world calls football) is making such enormous strides in America. Any kid, of any size, can dream of being a soccer star and playing in the World Cup.
Seriously: soccer’s super-star, Leo Messi of Barcelona, is just 5’6” and weighs 148 pounds. And the ‘2013 World Player of the Year’ is Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, who is 6’1”, 165 pounds.
No wonder that the last World Cup was watched by over 3.2 billion people in every single country and territory on earth, including Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. Even in the USA, over 24 million people tuned into the final game.
So here’s my idea to save the NFL:
I propose that each team in the NFL should be limited to 1.25 tons of players on the field at the same time.
That’s right -- one-and-a-quarter tons of players on offense vs. one-and-a-quarter tons of players on defense. 2,500 pounds vs. 2,500 pounds. And not an ounce more on either team.
Sure, if a coach really wanted to, he could still put an offensive line of five 310-pound players on the field. But that would leave him with only 950 pounds for both tight ends and the whole backfield – an average of only 158 pounds per player!
Is this an opportunity for us ordinary-sized people or what?
The bottom line is that a whole bunch of very talented, regular-sized players would have a chance to play on NFL teams and maybe even get to the Super Bowl.
And I predict that TV ratings will go through the roof – because people like watching people just like themselves. (Which is probably why we watch shows like “American Idol” in the first place.)
A great feeling of pride will sweep America: “Hey, look at that 170 pound, 5’8” guy going down the field – I can do that!”
Now I suppose some nitpicker will say that we shouldn’t call it the “Super” Bowl anymore -- not with our 1.25 ton per team weight limit.
But I suspect that’s just a marketing problem.
We can always call it “Super Bowl Light.”
Or even better, "The First Super Bowl With No Saturated Fat."
© 2014 Peter Tannen