Baseball may be called America's pastime, but football is the greatest game on earth.
There is nothing like the National Football League.
And as good as the NFL is, I just think of how much better it could be.
If I were appointed commissioner of the NFL, here are a dozen and one ways I would make the NFL better:
1. Playoff seeding by record, not division.
By this, I mean that a 12-4 wild-card team should not be seeded behind a 9-7 team that happens to win its division. This would be an unusual method, but nothing frustrates me more than seeing a far superior team travel to the stadium of an inferior team.
And this would be a reason to keep playing. I hate those Week 17 games where a team has everything locked up, so the backups play.
2. Get rid of NFL Network games.
It's a good idea, but it's unrealistic to expect millions of Americans to subscribe to NFL Network simply to view a handful of games down the stretch. And it's a pain if your team has a late-season primetime game to be shown on NFL Network—and you don't have NFL Network.
3. No ties. Play the game out.
4. MVP awards in both conferences.
I like this idea. Baseball does it. I think just one MVP award for 32 teams and over 1,600 players is not enough.
5. Eliminate the timeout rule for field goals.
I don't care if a coach wants to call a timeout to ice a kicker. But I hate it when we don't find out until after the kick that the coach had called a timeout. I remember the other year in a Monday Night Football game between the Cowboys and Bills, Nick Folk had to kick a 53-yarder twice.
6. Allow end zone celebrations.
As much as I despise the man, Terrell Owens, in his autobiography the other year, stated that the NFL has become the “No-Fun League.” And he may be right. Why can't the NFL simply allow celebrations? Fans love them. And players love to do them. Just as long as it doesn't take more time than it would for both teams to assemble for the ensuing kickoff.
7. Shorten the preseason.
Four preseason games is too much. That's a quarter of the regular season. Two is plenty. I remember this was a big issue in '03 when Michael Vick broke his leg in the second preseason game. If there had only been two preseason games, that wouldn't have happened.
8. Change the Pro Bowl voting.
I have never understood why we as fans vote for the Pro Bowl before the season is over. Pro Bowl voting should be done between Week 17 and the wild-card weekend. This way, guys with late-season surges (Jeff Garcia, '06) can have a chance.
9. Easier scheduling.
And no London games. Seriously. Who wants to have a “home” game be played in London, where all they care about is soccer? This is the National Football League, not the World Football League.
And I remember the other year, a team (I think it was the Dolphins) had to play a Monday Night game, then a Thanksgiving day game. In the same week. Ridiculous.
10. Play the Super Bowl at the city with the better record.
I hate how the Super Bowl is always played in Miami or San Diego or Detroit. The Super Bowl is the NFL's ultimate game, and should be played at the site of one of the two teams. And the team that won more regular-season games should host the city.
So if the Giants finish 14-2 and the Titans 13-3, and they meet in the Super Bowl, the game should be played in New York. And I know that no one will want to sit in freezing cold New York in February, but I think that should be the reward for the Giants and their fans.
11. Allow more reviews for close plays.
I love instant replay. It's great for the game. But it's useless when the referees get it wrong—and everyone in America can see that they're wrong. Like the Tuck Rule in the '01 playoffs. Or the Denver-San Diego game earlier this season, where everyone could see that Cutler fumbled—except Ed Hochuli. That play could cost the Chargers their season.
12. Stop babying the quarterbacks.
It's getting ridiculous. One of these days, a defender is going to get flagged for sacking the quarterback. I actually remember in an Eagles game earlier this season, Juqua Parker had the QB wrapped up, in his grasp, and he fired off an incomplete pass. Not only did the QB not get flagged for intentional grounding, but Parker got flagged for a late hit! It was absurd!
Think about a guy like Johnny Unitas back in the day, who would take hit after hit in a game. Back then, quarterbacks had to be the toughest players on the field to survive. Nowadays, they're not allowed to be touched.
13. Get rid of the NFL scouting combine.
I know a lot of people may disagree with this. But I think the whole combine is very overrated. A mediocre starting wide receiver who runs a 4.4 40 will see his draft stock rise from sixth-round potential to the top 20.
Remember Mike Mamula? He represents everything that is wrong with the combine. A decent college football defensive end who wowed scouts with his ability to dance between orange cones. He was drafted seventh overall—and flopped.