I like football. There’s grunting and shouting, and more important, a man has to be dragged to the ground before a play can end. It preserves the holiness of Sunday.
The more I watch, however, the harder it is to overlook an unforgivable flaw in the game: the field goal.
Consider this. A football team grunts and shouts its way 60 yards upfield until it faces fourth down. Then, at the moment of truth when dreams are made or stayed, out trots a little man to kick the ball through two posts that have nothing to do with the game. Even in sudden-death overtime!
The field goal is as relevant to football as…thinking…archery. Why not have an archer shoot at the Goodyear Blimp for three points? It makes as much sense and is equally anticlimactic.
The place-kicker doesn’t even look like the other players. He is half the size, wears a helmet only to fit in, and is rarely, if ever, dragged to the ground. He must feel awkward telling people he plays football.
“Well, I don’t actually play football. I kick field goals mostly. And watch.”
At the risk of libeling our beloved goal posts … to hell with 'em. They’re a headache for wide receivers and only serve the kickers who, as we have established, ruin the game anyway.
Where did these posts come from and why do they keep deciding the outcome of football games?
While we’re here, what is an extra point? A team plows into the promised land for six points, and the same arguably heterosexual kicker comes on for a 15-yard chip shot, a formality. My grandpa could hit extra points without spilling his scotch. So it goes.
“So, Mr. Smart Aleck Football Expert Guy,” you say. “How would you do it?”
I have answers.
Option 1: When a team penetrates the opponents’ 20-yard line, ban the field goal. Fourth and ten from the 18? Too bad. Throw for the end zone. I’m holding a $7 hot dog here. Entertain me!
This shall be followed by the mandatory two-point conversion. The scoring team has to get back into the end zone for its bonus point. Or better yet, let’s award the seven points and move on. I will also consider projecting the kicker through the posts from, say, a canon.
Option 2: To preserve conventional scoring, we will confer 3 points to the offense for penetrating the 10-yard line but falling short of a touchdown. That portion of the field will be colored teal and called the Almost End Zone. I like teal.
Option 3: An archer shoots at the Goodyear Blimp for one, two, or three points, depending on where he hits the bulls-eye.
I understand that these changes will effect the heritage of football—records, tactics, career options for displaced soccer players—but we must abolish place kicking to make the game watchable for discerning viewers. Games will not end because one team got “close enough,” but will end like Super Bowl XXII, with one man squirming for the end zone as the final second ticks away.
Which reminds me. There is one more change I’d like to suggest: To make the Super Bowl more interesting, we should have the losing team kill themselves. Think of the drama.