I must say, it feels good to be back! Worry not, I haven’t become some sort of exclamation-slinging maniac (an exclomaniac?) in my time away, I’m just glad to get back to the old grind.
It’s been about a year since we started for the first time here at Poor Scholars, which made me consider doing a “then vs. now” type intro. Then I realized no one wants that, myself included. Sharknado. The Miami Heat. Peyton Manning. Terrio Vines. You get it because you lived it.
Today on the chopping block is a concept that would revolutionize the way fans looked at pro football. For the majority of the country, their die hard pursuit of the pigskin ends when the regular season peters out at the end of December. Twelve teams receive the benefit of a postseason berth, but for the other twenty fanbases the emptiness of the offseason is nothing short of demoralizing. More waiting. Maybe next year. Hey, the draft is only four months away. Bleh.
We, the fans of atrocious franchises, need something more. Anything more. That’s where we can all benefit by taking a page from college football’s convoluted book.
Next season will be the inaugural campaign for the ever asked after FBS playoffs, and so I’m proposing the NFL institute their own version of the bowl system in order to bring the postseason process full circle. Non-playoff teams would have the chance to face off against similarly sorry franchises in the type of meaningless, revenue-driven debacles that has trivialized college football for decades. The two weeks between conference championship weekend and the Super Bowl are typically devoid of the gridiron (no, the Pro Bowl doesn’t count), which is precisely why a daily diet of bowl games would be such a hit with the general public.
The whole “must finish over .500 to participate in a bowl” thing from the amateur ranks would eliminate oh-so-many juicy matchups, so throw that out the window. While we’re at it, throw away most of the convention associated with organized competition, sportsmanship, logic and self-respect.
That should make these games slightly easier to stomach as we proceed. And remember- additional football is better than the alternative, no matter what the circumstances.
Transitions Lenses Transitional Bowl
This one provides a dual benefit for those who receive an invite. On one hand, the game is dedicated to helping victims of Black Monday (the day when after the regular season ends and coaches are fired) get back on their feet, but it also provides the new head honcho with a chance to grab an early lay of the land, as well. How can these two events happen simultaneously? Because both the ousted former coach and the brand spanking new hire will run the show in tandem. The best part about the game is that no plan of attack is a wrong move. Former coaches may choose to spend their afternoon sabotaging their squad and flipping off fans at the end of every quarter to vent at the franchise that jettisoned their services, or they can make a legitimate effort to show they deserve another crack at a job. The new coach’s circumstances are even better. They still need a roster sheet to remember names, their bags have yet to be unpacked and they’ve received virtually no time to think about a specific plan of attack, and yet they’re already fighting for their livelihoods while taking input from their embittered predecessor. The process of change can be more than a bit disconcerting, just like how everyone feels when they witness someone donning Transitions’ disconcerting sunglasses/spectacles combo. Don’t worry, they’ll still throw seven figures at the NFL for naming rights.
This Year’s Matchup: Lions Vs. Bucs; Because Lovie Smith/Greg Schiano and Jim Caldwell/Jim Schwartz are two duos that surely wouldn’t play nice.
Four Loko Trainwreck Bowl
I’ll speak for the good folks at Four Loko when I say this game will include a strictly enforced two drink minimum for all participants, with plenty of additional refreshments on hand during the action. If you thought the cleansing cocktail of caffeine and alcohol was a hit with the general public, just wait and see how it boons the performance of world-class athletes. Winning team earns a free supply of the Loko for life, which is the preferred drink of Grinches across the country, by the way. Or maybe that should be the punishment for the loser. Either way, someone is walking away with an ample amount of low-grade booze.
This Year’s Matchup: Cowboys Vs. Rams; Because America demands to see Dez Bryant and Cortland Finnegan square off while under the influence.
Charmin Get Used To The Toilet Bowl
No, this isn’t your conventional toilet bowl, smartass. This contest is reserved for teams that not only fell well short of glory in the present but also have the added honor of possessing limited hope to improve in the future. This one is all about adjusting expectations and facing reality. The game will be played in an open corn field to keep noise at a minimum. At halftime, a quartet of tiny violins will play a selection melancholy tunes, followed by a fifteen minute period of silent reflection. The first 10,000 fans to arrive will receive a complimentary roll of toilet paper. If there are extras, some lucky individuals may even receive two. By the end of the evening, rest assured all in attendance will be thoroughly doused in mediocrity. That way, the whole not winning for a long time thing will hurt less.
This Year’s Matchup: Redskins Vs. Jets; Because the ‘Skins are allergic to relevant draft picks and the Jets have about as much skill at the skill positions as your local high school.
Comedy Central Kick Them While They’re Down Bowl
Every season, without fail, there is at least one former contender who morphs into a complete and utter embarrassment from one season to the next. The transformation usually comes without rhyme or reason, and it’s not unheard of for that franchise to right itself and continue on a dominant path the next season, despite few meaningful changes. (See Saints, 2011-2013. Talk about Sean Payton and bountygate all you want, the roster basically went untouched through those years.) To commemorate these random losers, Comedy Central will pay hand over fist to roast each participating franchise. At every intermission, a different comedian will hold court at midfield, haranguing both sides and doing their part to turn this seemingly-innocent sporting event into a critical frenzy of insults and regret. When the clock hits zero, an array of projected top draft picks will parade around the field as assurance that brighter days are ahead. Unless one of those picks is the second coming of JaMarcus Russell. In that case, the Charmin bowl awaits.
This Year’s Matchup: Texans Vs. Falcons; Because at this time last year both were this close to a Super Bowl, but now they’re just a pair of running punch lines. Odds on J.J. Watt knocking out Adam Devine are ⅓.