Commentary

The “Bronze Medal Bowl” Argument

I don’t think it’s any secret that the only thing better than football is more football. I also don’t think anyone likes not having football in their lives. Despite the rest of the ‘Big Four’ sports doing their best, there’s still a feeling of misery and dread after the Super Bowl, especially after the legendary performance we just witnessed in Super Bowl LI. No meaningful football creates an empty hole in the hearts of millions of Americans. This is why I offer this proposition: Hold a game between the losers of the conference championship games after the Super Bowl.

At first I thought about replacing the Pro Bowl. Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl. It is football’s equivalent of getting toothbrushes on Halloween. That extends to other All-Star games, too (other than maybe the MLS and the NBA games.) Incentivizing All-Star games is an awful idea (home field advantage? Really, MLB?) and having an extra meaningless game in a world of “concern” for player safety is ridiculous. Could you imagine having Odell Beckham or Patrick Peterson tear their ACL during the Pro Bowl? Or worse yet, someone getting concussed during the Pro Bowl? It would start a firestorm of fury towards the Pro Bowl. It’s also not like anyone even remembers the Pro Bowl is on, anyway. Countless times throughout Pro Bowl Sunday I heard people saying they “forgot the Pro Bowl was on” or “Yeah, sure, I’m gonna watch the Pro Bowl” and other comments of that nature. If we’ve made it to the point where we’re scoffing at a football game, there is no saving it. The games themselves aren’t very good, either. Football isn’t a game that can be half-assed and you either get stinkers (like this year’s Pro Bowl) or shootouts with no defense being played whatsoever. All in all, these games are for the most part very underwhelming.

But why would I get rid of a game just to add another one? We would still have less football than if we had a Pro Bowl and the third place game. Even if the Pro Bowl is bad football, it’s still NFL football. Why would we want less professional football? Let’s just add a game. 

As I said, the game will take place between the two conference championship game losers at a neutral site. The team with the better record will be the home team and will be allowed to pick the jerseys they wear. The stipulations are really what will set this game apart from other contests, I think. The winner of the game receives a considerable cash bonus, immunity from Hard Knocks and games outside the United States, and the 29th pick in the draft. The loser of the game will have to pick 30th, as if they lost to the Super Bowl champions. The rationale here is that playing this game should mean something to the entire franchise, not just certain people who want to pick up a little extra cash. Having the opportunity to control your own destiny and select one draft spot higher would hopefully be enough to get guys fired up to play one last game (if, you know, cash isn’t enough) and help their teams potentially get a player that could otherwise be unavailable to them. Also, the coaches and team personnel should be thrilled to be exempt from Hard Knocks or those dreadful London games, as they’re nothing but a logistical nightmare that impedes the coaching process.

Also, think of all the dollars that would be up for grabs. The TV & radio deals, the advertising, the sponsorships (The Totino’s Pizza Rolls NFL Third Place Championship Game has a nice ring to it,) and hell, even a halftime show for this as well. The NFL already makes beaucoup bucks and even more in the playoffs, imagine what one more (pretty much) playoff game would reel in? More importantly, think of the gambling prospects: one more game for people to gamble on, more DFS options, more prop bets, upon other things. Plus more money would go into the cities, sports bars, liquor stores, grocery stores, etc.

On top of this still, you get to make not one but two trophies: one for the championship and one for the MVP. You can use them as great PR moves and name it after a recently deceased player or someone else who had an impact on the game, you can have a big to-do trophy awards ceremony, and plenty of hand-shaking and kissing babies for Roger Goodell (or one of the other cronies in the NFL executive suite.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “How is one more game going to make the game safer?” Well, it’s not. It’s a selfish attempt to make more money and have more football at the expense of a group of already exhausted and chronically hurting players. But rather than every team’s players having the chance to get injured, it’s only two teams. There is also a chance that nobody gives a damn about being third or watching this game all for a third place trophy and this whole thing is a waste of time. To you, I say, lighten up. You’ll thank me when we get an extra week of football after the Super Bowl. 

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