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Ten easy steps to a better NFL

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Posted: Thursday September 17, 1998 09:31 AM


Now that football has been rightly restored to Cleveland, I've got 10 other items for you to consider.

1. Football in Los Angeles. I grew up in L.A. and played for the Rams and the Raiders. Both teams released me in 1993. They were wrong. The fans in L.A. were so angry that they then forced both teams out of town. At least that what one of my friends told me. I forgive them and now we can have another team come and play in my old hometown.

2. Instant replay. This time around with a time limit of 60 seconds to review the play. Why 60? Ever played in Green Bay or in December? You can freeze your little bunnies off.

3. Let's limit celebrations to end zone dances. I can't believe a big old defensive player would sack the QB and dance like he was trying out for the remake of "Saturday Night Fever" while his team is down by 20. Deion Sanders even has a pre-play dance when he's getting ready to return a punt.

4. QBs who call their own plays. We'd see fewer guys get hurt if they could keep in the extra blockers.

5. Middle linebackers who call their own defenses. Hey, if the QB's can do it ...

6. An off-season for the players. If the QBs and MLBs are calling their own plays, there would be fewer plays to go over from February till July. Besides, don't the highlights from the '50s and '60s look more exciting than some of the games we've seen lately? Draw it up in the dirt.

7. Get rid of those stupid little Polaroid snap shots that they take from the booth upstairs and then Fed Ex down to the field before the next snap. Besides, if the players are calling all the plays they are too busy to look at the pictures. While we're at it, no more coaches in the booths. And no more headsets for the coaches on the sideline. (With no coaches in the booth, they'd have no one to talk with.) And no more speaker helmets for the QBs.

8. A real salary cap. Stop with the $10 million signing bonuses. Find out if the rookie can play first, or if the guy in S.F. will be any good on your team. I'm tired of hearing you can't cut or trade a player because of how it will affect the cap. What about the effect of carrying dead weight on your team?


10. Acknowledge that the greatest record in all of sports is that for Career Receiving Yardage. That way I'd be listed No. 2 in receiving behind Jerry Rice (instead of 7th in catches -- Cris Carter passed me this week). You never hear that Barry Sanders is closing in on Walter Payton's record for most rushing attempts. It's yardage, baby.

OK, maybe I went a little overboard on No. 10. But hey! It's my column.

James Lofton, who finished his 16-year NFL career in 1993 with 43 100-yard receiving games, is an NFL analyst for CNN/SI. His weekly column appears every Thursday exclusively on  

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