Let’s face it: football is ageist. Like an unholy demon from the netherworld, it requires the vitality of youth to keep itself strong. Professional careers are usually over by 30 due to injury or an inability to keep up with the modern NFL, a punishing full-contact sport. Not only does this seem like a waste of talent, but a waste of an opportunity. Everyone enjoys football, why shouldn’t everyone be allowed to play professionally?
I propose the creation of a new football league, which I will refer to as “Dadball.” This would be a throwback league, less focused on speed and intensity, more emphasis on fundamentals and strategy. No blitzing, kickoffs and probably not full-contact either.
Instead of seeking rookie talent, Dadball players would all be middle-aged athletes. Like a Pop Warner game, but with guys actually named Pop. Slower, wiser players who don’t treat their bodies like rental cars would play a slower, more thoughtful game. The best part: an influx of retired NFL players. Some guys are happy to retire, but I bet a bunch of them would happily segue into a slower-paced game if it meant extending their career. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see an old ass Dan Marino or Brett Favre or Charles Woodson hit the field again?
Also, let’s be honest: no matter how “no contact” this league is, these middle-aged guys are going to get killed out there. I’m talking enough wrecks on the field to satisfy a NASCAR fan.
I know this Dadball League would be a home run (see what I did there?) because my Dad would totally be into it. Watching it, not playing it. When he sits down to watch the Bears, he doesn’t care about statistic records or signing bonuses. He doesn’t want quantity without quality. He wants triumph born from experience, skill and sportsmanship. The NFL provides that, but a ragtag team of over-the-hill athletes leaving it all out on the field for the W? That would be gold.