Dallas Cowboys

Football Schmootball: Welcome to the National Armball League!

I am of semi-sound mind and body. I am totally aware that the NFL - evidenced by Saints 31, Colts 17 being the most-watched program in the history of TV - isn't exactly struggling for popularity. I am cognizant that I spend waste way too much time in my perverted think tank.

If it ain't broke don't fix it, but what if we could make great even better?

Water was good, then we bottled it and made it mobile. Computers were cool, then we turned them into radios and TVs. Swimsuits were functional, then we cut them in half and - voila - the bikini.

NFL Commissioner for a day? Me? Why, thanks. Don't mind if I do.

We can always tweak the NFL: Eradicate the "hitting a defenseless receiver" bullshit penalty; Take the skirt off the quarterback and make their legal "strike zone" bigger than baseball's; Bring back taunting and stickum and dancing and tear-away jerseys and entertainment; Shoot, commissioner Roger Goodell has even hinted at eliminating the three-point stance.

My suggestion is a tad more revolutionary. Radical, if you will. As in, let's get rid of kickers and give more responsibility and value to quarterbacks.

Go on, you say? Fine, I will ...

I present to you the National Armball League, a sport void of kickers.

When we were kids in the backyard what'd we do? "P for K!" Pass for kick, right? I just don't see the need for kickers or punters anymore. They play such a small percentage of the game, yet have a disproportionate impact on the final outcome. It's archaic I tell ya!

Here's how it works: More Tony Romo. Less Nick Folk. You with me?

Instead of kickoffs, a team's quarterback will throw the ball into play. Instead of punts, the quarterback will throw it. Simple, right?

Here's the best part: Traditional goal posts will be removed from the sport, replaced by three flourescent yellow hoops of ascending size. Biggest hoop on bottom is worth 1 point, medium hoop in the middle worth 2 and the smallest sitting atop it all is worth 3.

I know it initially sounds drastic and State Fair Midway-ish, but think about it: The Cowboys trail the Eagles, 23-21 with six seconds remaining. Facing 4th-and-9 at Philly's 23. What would you rather see: Out trots Shaun Suisham to try a game-deciding 40-yard field goal? Or back drops Tony Romo to try and win the game by throwing the ball through a hoop. And imagine the strategy. The Vikings score a touchdown on the game's final play to pull within one of the Packers. Does quarterback Brett Favre play the percentages and throw it through the biggest, easiest hoop for 1 point and a tie? Or does he "go for two" and the win?

Demented? Perhaps. Delicious? Certainly.

Quarterbacks are the best, highest-paid players on the field. Fans pay big prices to see them perform, not kickers. My league would have given you even more clutch memories from Roger Staubach and less from Toni Fritsch. Wouldn't Buffalo Bills fans have rather had their fate in Jim Kelly's hands rather than Scott Norwood's foot?

So, on a scale of 1-10 how crazy am I? I agree, about a 14. But is it just crazy enough to work?

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt