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Off the Beaten Path: 10 Things I Would Do with the NFL If I Were King for a Day

Off the Beaten Path is a way for me to babble aimlessly on matters that have nothing to do with the season at hand or the price of eggs.  This version is called "King for a Day."  If by divine intervention I was allowed to make any mandates to the NFL that I wanted - mandates that could not be revoked for 10 years, I would announce the following 10 decrees.  Have fun critiquing mine and offering yours.

1)  Tell everyone to forget the 18 game schedule.  Not going to happen during my decade of leadership.  It's insane to start a new health kick for the players and then drag them out on the field for two more games.  Attrition already has too much role in determining the playoffs.  It aint broke, leave it alone.  Less is more.  I wrote about this earlier.

2)  Keep the four-game pre-season, needed to effectively evaluate young players.  I'd cut the pre-season ticket prices in half and add 12 percent to each regular season game to make up the difference.  Then I would not force season-ticket holders to buy those pre-season games.  If they didn't want them, I would offer to the public who might otherwise not have the opportunity to attend a game, or afford regular-season prices.  Any pre-season tickets not sold, even at bargain prices, would be given to local Boys and Girls Clubs and Big Brother Charities.

3)  Extend the Collective Bargaining Agreement for 10 years.  I'd take money off the top for ex- players' health care and also to compromise with the owners' facilities debt, then I'd extend the 60-40 percent split between owners and players, and then tell everyone to play football for the next 10 years and not think about labor.

4)  Institute a fair rookie wage scale with increments allotted for each Draft choice.  Allow rookies to be restricted free agents after three years and then unrestricted after four years.  The money saved from outlandish first-round contracts would be funneled to veterans.

5)  Change overtime so that the first team to score six points wins.  This system of allowing a team simply to get a field goal while the other team never has possession is flat-out wrong.

6)  Change the challenge flag rule.  A coach can keep challenging as long as he is right.  There should never be a penalty for being right.  After the second lost challenge, the coach is out of challenges.

7)  Currently there are commercial breaks on both sides of a 10-second kickoff (after a score).  That's ludicrous.  I would place the commercial break in between the score and ensuing kickoff, and remove the break in between the kickoff and offensive series.  I would sacrifice some commercial time and total game time at this point, but make it up with the next decree.

8)  Increase halftime from 15 minutes to 20 minutes, like college.  If you watch the NFL exclusively on television, you might not be sensitive to this, but those of us who pay alot of money to attend games cannot possibly watch the entire first half, then hurry  to the restroom, get a hot dog and be back in the seat for the second-half kick.  Look at the stadium during the second-half kickoff.  It's embarrassing to see so many empty seats.  Fans must now choose to break with a few minutes left in the first half or sacrifice a few minutes at the start of the third quarter.  Not good business.  There are $5 million dollars spent by those fans on tickets alone.  Better for the teams also.  By the time they get into the locker room and use the restroom, it's time to come back out with hardly any time for instruction. This would not lengthen games, since I shortened them a tad with item #7.

9)  Tweak the Draft order.  The NFL can easily maintain competitive balance without going overboard and rewarding the teams with the worst records.  There should never be motivation to not play hard at the end of a season.  I would award the first pick to the 13th best team, after removing the 12 playoff teams.  Then go 14, 15, 16...31, 32, 12, 11...3,2,1.  This order would reward victory instead of defeat and motivate everyone to win every game possible.

10)  Rotate the Super Bowl host equally among all 32 teams.  I don't care about weather.  It's a part of football charm.  Awarding San Diego and Miami and Tampa the game all the time gives those franchises an unfair advantage.  If the NFL is the National Fair League, then be fair for everyone.  How does Jerry Jones get the game and not Art Rooney?  If the weather is cold then so be it.  It's football.  Deal with it.  Cold-weather teams shape their rosters to play in the elements the same way that dome teams shape their rosters to play with those elements.  Why then automatically give the dome/warm-weather teams the advantage in the Super Bowl.  Every city should get a turn.