Here’s what I’d do:
1. Eliminate the preseason and increase the regular season to 18 games spread out over 20 weeks.
2. Institute an injury study on artificial turf vs. natural grass. If
3. Permit open investment (up to 49 percent) into NFL franchises.
4. Ban domed stadiums. The idea is supposed to be that more people will attend games if they aren’t subject to the elements, but the attendance factors don’t appear to support that. Old domes will be grandfathered in, but no new ones.
5. Order NFL Films to offer full-season DVD summaries for each team that has enough fan support to break even on the sales of such DVD summaries.
6. Ban goal line vulturing. If your running back needs a break, that’s one thing. Substitute away. But dance with the girl that brought you to the Red Zone. Fantasy Football managers across America are demanding this.
7. Offer The Ticket on worldwide satellite. If I’m on vacation in London, I want to be able to see all the games, not just the two that Sky News gets to show.
8. Tell Yahoo Sports to provide a round-up feature to get rid of half-points in final scores.
9. Ban the public financing of stadiums. The Patriots financed their own stadium. The Patriots have won two of the last three Super Bowls. Tell me that preying on the taxpayers is necessary for success and I’ll fine you so hard that people will mistake you for the love child of Jim McMahon and Terell Owens.
10. Forbid any team that sells out more than half of its games from even talking about moving the franchise.
11. Work with the players union to reduce rookie salaries and increase veteran’s salaries. Funding big busts while cutting fourth-year journeymen does no one on either side any good. The goal would be to increase the ability of teams to keep veteran players and retain a more stable long term team identity.
12. Tell teams to quit changing their colors all the time. The Broncos change was kind of cool, but the Rams, the Bills and the Falcons are all too much.
13. Move the Arizona franchise to Los Angeles. That’s the only move that makes much sense to me. Retirees don’t want to go to the game, they want to watch it in their air-conditioned media room.
14. Forbid the “star and storyline” approach to coverage of the games. Tell the networks to hire real sportscasters who will talk to the fans, not to the half-interested folks who are never going to get sucked in to full fandom just by hearing Olympics-style blather about the players’ personal lives. Unless you’re going to show fifty pictures of Jessica Simpson walking her dog and completely turn into US magazine, you’re not going to get their allegiance.
15. Create a Dick Bavetta of the NFL, who would be in charge of refereeing all Vikings playoff games in order to make sure they get the breaks when needed. The Lakers and Knicks have Bavetta, Manchester United has Mike Riley, doesn’t Minnesota deserve a referee to call its own? (Totally kidding, I’m as desperate for a Vikings Super Bowl victory as any Boston fan was for a Red Sox championship was until this week, but I want a real one. I want to beat the Giants and the Redskins in the playoffs, then stomp all over the Steelers for the ultimate victory.)