Break out the party helmets and the confetti made from Greg Schiano’s shredded contract, because tomorrow the NFL’s official year will turn over to the next, free agency will begin, and (hopefully) the NFL will be open to making some improvements. Forget fried foods and nail-biting – here are some things we’d like to see the league clean up this year.
Quit being so stodgy on fourth down.
As much as we hate commending something that Bill Belichick does regularly, you guys should be going for it way, way more. Forget “courage,” this conservative football mentality has even taken the statistically favorable approach and thrown it out the window. Get on board with (shiver) Bill Belichick and play football like most people play Madden.
Someone draft Michael Sam. Early.
The dude was the best defensive player in the best conference in NCAA football. That’s all you need to know. Seriously, both soccer and basketball are miles ahead of you. Isn’t that embarrassing? Soccer!
Put some good games on Thursdays.
We want to give another evening of our lives over to you, NFL, we really do, but you make it pretty difficult when your penultimate game of the season is Texans-Jags. Nobody, at any point of the season, thinks this will be a good game. CBS swooped in and grabbed some Thursday night action so we may be spared a few weeknight stinkers, but until the schedule is revealed we’ve been burned by too many Redskins and Bills games to be optimistic.
Stop calling your shots.
Adrian Peterson fell only 8 yards short of the single-season rushing record in 2012, and that was with no passing support – so nobody doubts his ability to make something from nothing. However, when you start calling your shots, you set yourself up for embarrassment. Chris Johnson could use the same lesson in being humble. Only three guys in history could pull this off, so if your name isn’t Joe, Babe, or Muhammad, knock it off.
Keep your head coaches healthy.
Gary Kubiak went down with a very scary mini-stroke in November and his team couldn’t pull out a single win afterwards. John Fox had an equally scary heart surgery and he got blown out in the biggest game of the season. We’re pretty sure Rex Ryan has been clinically dead since 2011 and is only running on adrenaline and the poltergeist that Bill Belichick put inside of him. By this logic, you’re going to want to get a coach in peak physical condition, and we’ve got an absolutely perfect leader for your team.
Stop hiring Shanahans.
Seriously, this hasn’t gone well for anybody since 1998.
Photos by Erik S. Lesser / Landov