We have been without the NFL for almost a month now. There hasn’t been any helmet-to-helmet contact in far too long. When I turn on SportsCenter lately, it’s riddled with NASCAR and a guy named Jimmer. Things have got to change. We need football to come back. The only thing worth watching currently is the NBA.
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a good chance we could lose both the NFL and the NBA in the next year. Both players’ unions are at odds with owners about how the leagues should be run into the future. Both sides are threatening a “strike” or “lockout” of sorts. Basically, this means there will be far less entertaining things on television. So instead of coming up with compromises the unions should make, or an appeal to the owners who want a few more million dollars to go with their billions, I’ve decided we need to start seriously considering plan B.
What happens if professional football and basketball are gone for good? What will the worldwide leader in sports cover? Will baseball again become America’s sport (fat chance)? Below is a comprehensive list that executives at ESPN should consider when deciding how to fill the gaping hole the NFL and NBA will leave:
- Bring back the XFL. I know this sounds stupid. Heck, it didn’t even last for a second season initially. But think of all the talent available! This won’t be like Keanu suiting up in The Replacements. There will be much better acting. This is LeBron’s chance to finally be the tight end Cleveland dreamt of. Can you imagine John Wall in the backfield? For this to be successful, we would need some serious changes from the first time around. Instead of Vince McMahon running the league, we would need to appoint a new commissioner. I nominate Jim Halpert from the Office. If anyone has watched the Office over the years, you would recognize Jim is always striving for a level-playing field (think Dunderball). He is willing to make sacrifices for everyone’s entertainment. This quality makes him an excellent candidate for commissioner of the new XFL.
- Place ex-NFL and ex-NBA players onto the PGA Tour for comedy’s sake. Can you imagine Terrell Owens playing golf? On second thought, maybe this is a great idea. Let’s get Jets CB Antonio Cromartie a PGA Tour card so he can take care of all the “distractions” that have been bothering Tiger Woods. In no time at all we’ll have a new record for most Major Tournament victories and a Guinness World Record for most offspring by a single human being. The Tour’s new slogan could be “Taking Care of Business.”
- Take Slam Ball mainstream. I think everyone from age 18-28 knows why this would be a perfect idea. Heck, kids ages 4-10 think this is a perfect idea too. We’ll have an array of ex-NFL and ex-NBA stars with nowhere to go… but up! Get it? Let’s throw some trampolines down at Madison Square Garden and see what happens. Who doesn’t love trampolines? I’m sure there will be tons of sponsors lining up at the opportunity to advertise at the Sprite Slam Ball Slam Dunk Competition. The potential number of dunking superstars increases exponentially with the trampolines! Can you imagine Rajon Rondo’s athleticism combined with an improved 48” on his vertical leap? That is must-see-TV.
- More World Series of Poker (just kidding).
- Less World Series of Poker (not kidding).
- Force ex-NFL and ex-NBA players into completely obscure sports. I’d like to see Kobe Bryant as a jockey, Peyton Manning as a hockey goalie, Dwight Howard in fencing, Larry Fitzgerald as a curler, and Kevin Garnett and Tim Tebow pairing up for a couples figure skating routine (ala Michaels and McElroy in Blades of Glory). Heck, Rex Ryan could be a physical trainer for any of these sports (that way he gets to work around lots of feet).
- Make the Olympics and every-other year event. Why do we have to wait four years for the summer and winter Olympics? Our whole country gets excited about athletes who haven’t been around long enough to annoy us (or haven’t discovered Twitter yet). This is a win for everyone. More cities can host it. These athletes can compete in twice as many games as they would’ve in the past. Individual career records would be shattered. I personally would love to see the Dream Team destroy Pau Gasol’s heritage every other year.
So clearly, ESPN has nothing to fear with the impending lockouts. They’ll continue to be The Worldwide Leader, we’ll just have to deal with less trade rumors, retirement talks, and contract negotiations. If you put it that way, this sounds like a much happier sports world to live in.