NFL As A Reality Show

Sam HeganCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Former NFL player Michael Irvin arrives at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's 24th Annual Sports Spectacular at the Century Plaza Hotel on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)



I don’t know how many pro football fans watch or are even aware of the reality show, “4th AND LONG,” currently running on the cable channel Spike TV. If you are and have become a fan of the show, bare with me for a minute so I can layout what the show is about to the people unaware of the show.

Spike TV’s “4th AND LONG,’ is a reality show with the intent of finding the next pro athlete from undrafted free agents and give them a shot with the Dallas Cowboys NFL football team. This season is its first and has a cast of hopefuls at defensive back and wide receiver.

The Dallas coaches that are participating are All-Pro Bill Bates working with the defense and Coach Joe Avezzano working with the receivers.

It will have a ten-episode season with one of the hopefuls as a contracted walk-on with the Cowboys this next season. Cowboy Hall of Fame stand out, Michael Irving is the show’s host and brings along a great list of guest appearances by former Cowboy greats.

The list includes Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Daryl Johnson, Jay Novacek, Nate Newton, Darren Woodson, Terence Newman, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson and former 49ers great Jerry Rice. Each gives a small insight into what it takes to be a professional football player.

This has been a fantastic series so far, and I hope some of the other teams are watching. Dallas usually has no difficulty in finding the cream of the free-agent crop, but a few NFL teams need any help they can get.

Case in point, the 2008 Detroit Lions could use any of these guys as their current crop of players leave a lot to be desired. Many of the fringe teams need help at certain positions and surely, there has to be somebody out there that can help.

Sometimes all it takes is that one individual that will inspire the rest of the team to play above their talent. I think about the story of Vince Papale, the walk-on with the Philadelphia Eagles that gave them a real shot in the arm and generated a movie about it, “Invincible,” from 2006 staring Mark Wahlberg.

Could we possibly see that story all over again with the Dallas Cowboys? Will it be one of these players? I honestly believe the talent is out there to be tapped if given half a chance. Will that talent come from this reality TV show or just happen into practice? I see a lot of promise with most of the players on the show and see most if not all playing on somebody’s team.

Now how about this as an idea, do away with free agency and let the teams have an inclusive reality TV show. It would allow the fans to see new and upcoming talent and be entertained in the process. Now I turn the forum over to you, the fan. So, what do you think? Is this an idea ripe for today’s TV viewers and NFL fans, or is this show a real bad idea?