Whether the NFL’s all-star game, the Pro Bowl, will be continued is up in the air this year. Since it will never have the intensity of a real game, to keep our interest, the NFL needs to amp up what it can accomplish showcasing the best of the best by exposing them to a tweaked game, everything from modest experimental rule changes to downright ridiculous twists. Here are some options for testing their skills and creating a more entertaining spectacle.
Starters will begin the game in crazy cosutmes. Imagine if the parade floats had to play in the game. The fans enter the yearlong contest to design the costumes. They must not create a serious injury risk, so it’s likely we will get a chance to see the costumes explode seconds after the first snap: foam, flowers, and feathers everywhere. The costumes will be unveiled the night before the game. How do you decide who wears what? The starters pick what they get to wear. You could have the oldest starter pick first or have a draft lottery, to decide who picks when. For cancer awareness, the last costume should always be a pink tutu, and shall be worn the whole game.
For the first experiment in the rules: make them get vertical, really vertical. Nature does not demand a flat field. Build a ramp (or better yet, a pyramid) that can be rolled out to cover the middle 50 yards of the field. It will be steep. If they are such great quarterbacks, let’s see them throw uphill. If you stand in one endzone you will not be able to see the other even if you jump. So the field elevation should be at least 10 feet higher at midfield.
The second is a gift to the offense, a challenge to the defense, and a nightmare for the networks: two footballs, in play at the same time.
If the offense chooses two quarterbacks, they lose a lineman. The TV producers will not like having to cover two footballs. Maybe they could use split screen or keep a very wide shot. The announcers will have to consult with their colleagues in baseball about how to make it through a long broadcast saying “two balls” over and over again without giggling.
The third idea shifts the balance back to the defense. For years the offense has held the upper hand in these games. Even it out with a 12th defender … carrying the business end of a fire hose. He could lay down some anti-aircraft defense by shooting at the ball in flight, or he could just soak the quarterback the whole time (not as easy as you think with those linemen in the way) or he could try to stop the receiver at a very inconvenient time. However, I would support a ban on fire hose blasts to the crotch or face. Referee: “Unnecessary roughness: defense, illegal fire hose to the groin/crotchblasting. 30-yard penalty; first down!”
Who gets to be the hosemen? How about a lucky fan (signing a lengthy waiver, of course)? Put the honor up for bid on eBay, with the money going to charity.
The fourth twist, now that the field is a complete mud pit (yes, a natural surface stadium is required), it’s time to release the hogs. Since I’m sure we won’t be able to send out a swarm of real pigs — damn you, PETA! — we can use fake ones. Three ropes cross the field in front of the offense, with 100 lb pink meatbags attached about every 20 feet. The defense’s teammates on the sidelines would pull on the ropes to move the pigs back and forth to disrupt the offense. It’s like adding a little foosball element to a football game.
If a player is tackled by a pig, he must do a belly flop in the mud in his own endzone, and leave the game and the field, delivering a free beer to someone sitting in the last row of the upper deck. If he spills more than half the beer, he must return all the way to the front row to get another one. His team has to play a man short until he returns.
So, NFL/Goodell, since it doesn’t matter at all who wins the Pro Bowl, and nobody cares, you need to show us some crazy stuff. Hopefully, this kicks up a few brainstorms. Any ideas, dear readers?