Playing the Field: Ways to Improve Bad NFL Teams
It seems that there are more atrocious teams in the National Football League this season than in years past. By my reckoning, there are eight teams that fall in this category: Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Cleveland, Tennessee, Kansas, Detroit, Oakland and Washington. People might say pitting them against the good teams in the league would be a David vs. Goliath matchup, but I do not think this is fair. It is more of a David vs. an M1 Abrams tank... David is going to get demolished. Watching these teams is so painful, it is necessary to create a unique set of rules for these teams; rules that will force improvement to the franchises and at the very least provide some entertainment value for the fans.
Rule 1: Cut every player over 30 years old. The best way to rebuild is to give younger guys a chance to play and let them learn how to play football at the professional level. The Tennessee Titans are a perfect example of a team that thinks along these lines-after riding the 36 year old Kerry Collins to a 0-6 start; team management realized it was time for a change. The much younger Vince Young started. Young performed admirably and helped the Titans to their first victory of the season over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Even if they lose, fans get a glimpse of be better times to come.
Rule 2: No punting and limited field goals. Nothing is worse than watching a horrible team, in a game it is already losing by 40 points, bring in the punter and kick the ball away. Or the loosing team kicking a field goal, and cutting the deficit to 37 points instead of 40. Just go for it already! If you do not get the first down, what is the worst that can happen? You lose the game? That is going to happen anyway! If you go for it and get it, who knows what could happen. The odds are against you to win the game, but it still could be the type of play that brings a spark back to a lifeless team, and to lifeless fans.
The St. Louis Rams came into this past week with a 0-7 record. Towards the end of the first half of the game, the field goal unit trotted on for what looked to be the conservative play. The Rams pulled off a beautiful fake field goal and scored the touchdown. That touchdown was the margin of victory, as the Rams recorded their first win of the season by seven points. For the fans, it was exciting to say the least.
Rule 3: Give the players the right to vote to fire the coach. Owner Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders is not going to fire Head Coach Tom Cable anytime soon, although Cable punched out his assistant and broke his jaw and reportedly has beaten multiple ex-wives and ex-girlfriends. I can't imagine players want to play for him. So, let the players fire him and improvise from here on out! Rule 4: Free beer in the stadiums. Because if you are going to pay to watch any of these teams, you are going to need it.