With Peter King on his annual four-week summer vacation, Redskins tight end Chris Cooley graciously agreed to write today's Monday Morning Quarterback column.
I was very excited to be asked to fill in for Peter King this week, though I'm slightly disappointed to be the third person asked -- I mean, seriously, Trent Green? Still, this is a very cool opportunity, and I am happy to do it.
A couple of weeks ago, I squatted over my helmet next to Shaun Suisham on the practice sideline of Redskins Park. It was your every-day water-cooler dialogue, the kicker being the guy who has nothing to do, ever, and then lingering around, begging for someone to scheme with. Conversations with a kicker are typically nonsense-filled ideas ranging from Barack Obama staring down girls' backsides to Michael Jackson's death dragging his estate out of debt. Every so often, we even talk about football, but with a kicker it's usually something about how a holder's chubby, jittery hands can mess up an entire season or why adding two games to the regular season would be so much harder on a kicking leg.
Our recent talk actually led to a profound idea. The topic was actually brought up in a kicking state of mind, wondering why the goal posts don't continue upward for another 10 yards, thus eliminating any judgment call about whether a field-goal attempt is good when the ball is kicked above the end of the bar. Then the brilliance of Smart Football was born!
Many judgment calls should be taken out of human hands. Just ask anyone from Baltimore if Santonio Holmes crossed the goal line or any Chargers fan about the Ed Hochuli blunder that led to San Diego losing in Denver last season. Those two calls alone spurred enough controversy about the NFL's referees and replay system to demand some kind of change.
The correct call in every crucial situation would purge a lot of ugly emotion and relieve tension, but can the human eye be correct every time? Seriously, look at the Holmes catch again. Watch it from every possible camera angle, then try to decide for sure whether it's a touchdown. Smart Football eliminates the guesswork.
The system begins by placing sensors in both tips of the ball and then it works with a laser or GPS system. At that point, the possibilities are endless. Technology is so advanced that determining anything that happens on the field with the ball is possible. The sensors indicate the instant the ball crosses the goal line, or any line for that matter. This eliminates officials having to slog in from the sideline, peer over 22 enormous men and try to determine from memory where the ball may have reached.
It doesn't have to stop with the end zone, the league can sensor the first-down markers, as well. Furthermore, it wouldn't be so hard to tell when a ball started or stopped moving forward or backward, which would, accordingly, determine forward progress. I'd be willing to bet Al Davis would have paid Smart Football to give Oakland the opportunity to take Tom Brady's fumble and go on to the Super Bowl.
Yes, this great new method also applies to kickers and Suisham's short goal-post theory, though it can't make ex-punters any skinnier. Goal posts are simply extended by shooting a laser upward, easily determining whether ball went through.
Oh, and before complaining about how much this would cost, consider that I'm talking about the NFL. The league in which defensive tackles receive $100 million contracts. I think there would be a way to swing some GPS technology on the field. Just maybe.
1. I think the Washington Redskins are going to have an outstanding season and win a ton of games. We've done everything a team can do in the offseason to get better. Jason Campbell is so close to being one of the best QB's in the league; he will have a great year. Note: I have to say all this regardless, but it's nice to actually believe it.
2. I think all the talk about making young quarterbacks wait their turn and learn before they play is B.S. The best way to get better at something is by doing it, so if they're ready to play, let 'em play. I know teams are very considerate about a player's psyche, but if a quarterback can't handle the scrutiny of throwing a pick in his first season, how is he going to handle it throughout his career? Might as well find out.
3. I think the NFL uniform rule is much too stringent. Guys are now being fined in the third and fourth quarters for their jerseys being untucked. Assessing a $5,000 fine for a untucked jersey is ignorant. When the thing gets yanked out of the pants it just looks like the guy is playing harder. The NFL is also fining for other minuscule things, like socks not being pulled up enough and hand towels being two inches too long. Obviously, the NFL has to keep things within reason, but insignificant uniform infractions do not affect the integrity of the game.
4. I think, sticking with the game-integrity theme, I don't know why touchdown celebrations are being eliminated. I'm not a celebration guy myself, at all, but it's part of what makes our game exciting. A touchdown is a huge moment in a game and a huge accomplishment for a player, so take it easy on fining guys for having a little fun celebrating. Besides, the last time I checked the NFL was an entertainment business, and I love watching the creativity of guys like Chad Johnson.
5. I think adding two extra games to the regular season would be great if the league would shorten the preseason by two weeks. Also, the pay raise would have to fit accordingly. With all the offseason work players put into today's game, the six weeks of training camp and preseason are a burnout. Plus, what fan wouldn't rather watch real games?
6. I think I made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. This offseason, Tony Gonzalez and Kellen Winslow were traded into the NFC, and with young guys like Greg Olsen becoming better players, it will be very competitive when it comes to filling the two NFC tight end spots in this year's Pro Bowl. Oh, I forgot to mention Jason Witten.
7. I think the Pro Bowl should never leave Hawaii. No questions asked, it is the best place for all the players to get together with their families and celebrate a great season. Miami, the site of the 2010 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl, will be too crazy the week before the Super Bowl for anyone to relax.
8. I think if athletes/celebs are out having a good time, fans should not try to take advantage of them by sneaking photos Online. Cell-phone cameras are out of control right now. Just shake hands and say hello. Oh, and I know that if someone tries to video me taking a piss again, I'm not going to hesitate to punch them square in the face.
9. I think putting peanut butter, mustard and ham on a sandwich is awesome. The three ingredients are magical when put together.
10. I think athletes are usually terrible writers. "Cough! Donovan McNabb!" To be honest, most of the time I can't stand to read anything football players write, sorry Matt Birk. Now after stopping for a minute, I'm pretty concerned about what I've put together. Oh well, one thing's for sure, I can take a hell of a lot of criticism.
E-mail comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and check out Cooley's official blog.