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Hefferon: If I ruled the world of sports for one week (Feb. 7)

Jack Hefferon | Monday, February 6, 2012

For this week, I’ve been granted the position of Dictator of Sports, free to cut and change whatever I please and right the wrongs that plague the sports world. Sports Dictator sounds a little harsh to me though. I want a title with the same power, but with more grace, like Prince Fielder rounding the bases.

I’ll settle on High Chancellor of Sports, which has a nice, regal, English sound to it. And speaking of England, we’ll start there: FOX’s Super Bowl Sunday coverage began at 10 a.m. with a high-profile soccer match from the English Premiership between Chelsea and Manchester United. The two elite teams poured in six goals in front of a sizable TV audience for an exciting 3-3 tie. As High Chancellor, I decree that this become a weekly tradition.

The 10 a.m. timeslot (4 p.m. across the pond) could be the EPL’s version of Monday Night Football, with a featured matchup showcasing its product around the world.

This would also limit the overdone NFL pregame shows to one hour, cutting out the blowhard hype, opinions and gimmicks that haunt my constituents’ Sunday mornings. We just witnessed this hype machine at its worst, where the flimsy Pro Bowl is the only event breaking up two full weeks of repetitive guesswork and hot air before the Super Bowl.

Football is not a sport that supports an all-star game, and I, your Fearless Leader, am sending the Pro Bowl to Siberia. Instead, the league’s premier players will be invited to the Super Bowl host city for a week of skills competitions and bragging rights.

Combine Day will feature Devin Hester, Chris Johnson and the NFL’s fastest in a winner-take-all 40-yard dash. The Bench Press and Wonderlic test titles would also be fought for in front of a live audience downtown (I’ve got No. 1 seed Ryan Fitzpatrick covering the spread against No. 16 Vince Young in the Wonderlic. Did I mention sports gambling is legal now, too?).

Other days would feature the AFC/NFC 3-on-3 basketball game, 7-on-7 football tournament and an O-line vs. D-line hot dog eating contest, to boot. These events would spice up the coverage of the week, and would be another attraction for the Super Bowl host. Plus, it gives the league’s all-stars an excuse to come party with A-list celebrities, leading to more athlete/Kardashian weddings (I give the people what they want).

Attending to the other sports, I’d move the three-point line in college and the NBA back two more feet, so that it’s not the near-automatic shot it is now. Also, I’d introduce a new NBA rule that sets travelling at three steps, as opposed to the current five.

The NHL’s current alignment makes no sense at all, as Winnipeg, Washington, D.C. and Tampa Bay currently play in the same five-team division. I’m sending the Jets to the Northwest, Colorado to the Pacific, Dallas to the Central and Nashville to the Southeast. This will cut down on travel, make much more sense and create an incredibly fun Canada/Minnesota division.

Last week, then-Sports King Douglas Farmer introduced a “Cigar Rule”, which decreed that any “sport” that could be played while smoking a cigar is not actually a sport. I’m adding an addendum, which demotes to a lower tier any “sport” that can be played while chewing gum or packing a lip full of tobacco. Baseball, I’m looking at you.

Lastly, a few quick fixes: the BCS gets a plus-one playoff, with the national semifinals falling on Jan. 1. NASCAR’s 10-race playoff system shall include a road course (Infineon) and a short track (Bristol), rewarding an all-around driver.

Finally, season ticket holders of any team will lock in ticket prices for as long as they buy their tickets, retroactive immediately. So, if your family has been at every Notre Dame football home game since 1960, you’re guaranteed your same season tickets at $25 apiece.

Well, my term is up, but it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve you.

God bless you, and God bless the world of sports.


Contact Jack Hefferon at wheffero@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this Sports Authority column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.