Monday, October 10, 2011

If Education Reformers Ran the NFL

Fran Tarkenton shown above sitting on his helmet in the final moments of a 32-14 Viking loss in the 1977 Super Bowl wrote an excellent article recently for the Wall Street Journal.  Tarkenton who is most known for a very long career without a Super Bowl ring to show for it joined former professional basketball player Arne Duncan in taking teachers to task. It did make me think about how great the NFL would be if run by education reformers.

  • Due to the failures of college stars like Ryan Leaf and Brian Bosworth to become great players, the college draft would be eliminated
  • To make up for the loss of new talent coming to weak teams through the draft, the worst teams would be given gifted athletes who have never played the sport before a 5 week crash course in the Summer.  Most of these players will quit after 2 years to become coaches.
  • The BCS ranking system for colleges would now exist, but instead be based on the success of the players coached by their graduates in the NFL.
  • As Tarkenton himself points out,  "Why bother playing harder or better and risk getting hurt?" if you aren't rewarded for individual accomplishments rather than team goals.  Every player will now be on an incentive contract.  Cornerbacks will be free to try for the interception at all costs rather than knocking down a pass, defensive ends can go all out for the sack and ignore draws and trap plays, wide receivers can proudly proclaim when leading 28-24 in the last minute, "Throw me the damn ball."
  • The disabled list will be eliminated.  If you can't do the job, you will be cut.
  • Teams that fail to make the playoffs will become turnaround teams.  They will cut their team, fire their organization from the general manager down to the people who work the concession stands and a new team will replace them.
  • An expansion team has the right to take over half your home field, with each team playing from 50 yard line to goal line.
  • As the NFL has the shortest season of any professional sports league, the season will be expanded to 80 games.  This will be done by eliminating off days between games and players will receive no extra compensation because it's for the good of the fans. 
  • Players will not be paid for practicing or attending training camp. Any time other than game time is optional.
  • Coaches will not be allowed to create their playbook and instead will use much of the team's budget up buying pre-scripted playbooks.
  • Players will be very poorly paid.  Instead the best paid people in the game will be announcers and pundits who continually criticize the players.
  • Players will be given gear left over from the 1970s and be expected to pay for upgrading their own equipment.
  •  Players will have no say over how they are used.  If a player signed with a team to play quarterback and they need him at defensive tackle, that's where he'll play.  If a player holds out, he will not only be released, he will be banned from playing in the league again.
This is the kind of league I could really get behind.  A game every night of the week would be awesome and with players freed up from the concentration on winning, I could root for my favorite players instead of teams.  The time for reform has come.

1 comment:

  1. Testing Madness--
    I thought you might like to read this excerpt from the new novel, Chain Gang Elementary, about the Standard Hightower Achievement Test: