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Commissioner for a Day

Expand season, limit playoffs, forget about L.A.

Posted: Thursday July 6, 2006 11:40AM; Updated: Friday July 7, 2006 12:19PM
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This is not as laughable as you might think. The NFL is as close to flawless as any sports league in America -- big surprise there -- but the key word there is "close." I can make it better. I can make it perfect. I can out-Tagliabue Paul Tagliabue. And here goes.

1. Expand the regular season to 18 games: Cut the preseason to two games, and expand the regular season by two. Now, I understand how football's a war of attrition, and so you'd have to adjust how teams play the game. So expand the rosters to have every one of the 53 players on the active roster active for each game, instead of only 45. This would give the best players, theoretically, the opportunity to play fewer plays and give each player a better chance to last 18 games. Of course, you'd have to pay the players more because they'd be performing for two more games, but that's for another day. I'm only the commissioner for a day, not a mathematician.

2. Pass a bylaw prohibiting playoff expansion: Twelve teams is enough. It's almost perfect, by the way. Any more, and you risk an 8-8 team in the hockey-like postseason every year. And because some teams that win 10 will occasionally miss the playoffs, the sentiment will be there every year to expand the postseason. So the NFL should act right now and make it next to impossible to ever have a playoff field bigger than 12 teams.

3. Make long field goals more valuable: Simple: Any field goal 50 yards or further is worth four points. No traditionalist would want it. But no traditionalist wanted the three-point shot in basketball, and look how much fun it is to see Dwyane Wade or Vince Carter go wild from 28 feet. Electric stuff. Imagine the Lincoln Financial Field crowd at a 14-10 game, Philadelphia trailing Dallas, late fourth quarter, Eagles' ball, fourth-and-six at the Cowboy 35. "A-kers! A-kers! A-kers!" the crowd shouts, serenading David Akers as he runs on the field. And now the game's in his hands. Or on his foot. It'd add value to the long field goal, and make more games competitive late.

4. Take NFL Sunday Ticket off the dish and put it on digital cable: There are too many people -- like me -- who will never get a dish because digital cable is so good. Makes no sense. How many of those people have no intention of going through the gyrations to get a dish just so they can have every NFL game in their house on 17 Sundays? I don't care what the NFL is making off the dish. The league would make more on digital cable -- and what's more, more people would watch more football. My theory, anyway.