Column Date 2007-01-29

The Super Bowl for small people

Don’t you feel small and insignificant when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around?

You should.

Here are some of the players you’ll see on the field:

For the Indianapolis Colts:

Ryan Diem, 320 pounds, 6’6”
Dylan Gandy, 302 pounds, 6’2”
Tarik Glen, 332 pounds, 6’5”
Charley Johnson, 305 pounds, 6’4”
Matt Ulrich, 309 pounds, 6’2”

Even their quarterback, Peyton Manning, is 230 pounds, 6’5” tall.

For the Chicago Bears:

Alfonso Boone, 318 pounds, 6’4”
Antonio Garay, 303 pounds, 6’4”
Terrence Metcalf, 318 pounds, 6’3”
Fred Miller, 314 pounds, 6’7”
John St. Clair, 315 pounds, 6’5”
John Tait, 312 pounds, 6’6”

Their quarterback, little Rex Grossman, weighs in at just 217 pounds, and stands a mere 6’1” tall.

(To be fair, you’ll also see some smaller guys on the field – well, small for pro football, at least. But the tiniest guy on the Chicago squad is 183 pounds, and two players on the Indianapolis squad are 180.)

Overall, you have to admit that these are really, really big people. And I think this is grossly unfair to us ordinary-sized people – we’re still the vast majority in this country, despite our current obesity epidemic.

So here’s my idea:

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.

Now, if you really wanted to, you could still put an offensive line of five-310 pound players on the field. But that would leave you with only 950 pounds for your tight ends and your backfield – an average of only 158 pounds per player!

Coaching strategy would take on a whole new dimension, and mathematicians and risk/reward analysts would no doubt become permanent members of the coaching staff.

Of course, with smaller players, we might need a slightly smaller ball, and perhaps a field only 80-90 yards long. And some of the longer player’s names might not fit on the backs of their small jerseys. But those are minor adjustments, easily made.

The bottom line is that a whole bunch of talented, ordinary-sized players would have a chance to make NFL team rosters and actually play in the Super Bowl.

And I predict that the audiences will soar – because people like watching people just like themselves. (How else can you explain the success of “American Idol?”)

A great feeling of pride will sweep America: “Hey, look at that 155 pound, 5’7” guy run down the field – I can do that!”

Our national self-esteem will rise by leaps and bounds. And America will be the home of the brave once again.

I suppose that some nitpicker will say that we shouldn’t call it the “Super” Bowl anymore -- not with our 1.25 ton team weight limit.

But that’s just a marketing problem.

We can always call it “Super Bowl Light.” Or, even better -- “Super Bowl XLII – the first Super Bowl Without Saturated Fat.”

Sounds like a winning strategy to me.

©2007 Peter Tannen