Franchise Mode: A Modest NFL Proposal

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Attention Fantasy GMs and Football Video Gamers:

Are you bored with fantasy football?  Unwilling to fork over more cash for endless versions of a football video game? If yes, then it’s time for you to field a team of your own in the next generation of player pools: The Reality Football League, consisting entirely of concussed players suing the NFL.

Imagine the franchise you could build simply by choosing from the legions of players currently claiming in one lawsuit or other that the league was negligent in handling their head injuries. At running back, Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, or Pro Bowl picks and Super Bowl champions Jamal Lewis and Dorsey Levens. At quarterback, three Super Bowl-winning field generals: Jim McMahon, Jeff Hostetler, and Mark Rypien. On the defensive line: two historic greats of the game, Bob Lilly and Alex Karras. There's even a kicker, Garo Yepremian. NFL legends all! And the growing list of plaintiffs now include two players selected just this week for the College Football Hall of Fame: quarterback Steve Bartkowski and wide receiver Art Monk.

These are just some of the almost 2,200 players to choose from in the new concussed plaintiff’s league—far more than the 1,696 players active in the NFL. The plaintiffs league teams will feature 53 players each, the same-sized rosters as their active compatriots; with those roster sizes, the league could field 40 teams, besting the measly NFL’s 32 franchises. While it may be true that most of the players in the concussion lawsuits draft pool are pretty obscure, that will make the research all the more fun. What better way to show them you care than by learning about forgotten, suffering players.

And while the NFL hasn’t added a team since the Houston Texans joined the league ten years ago, you can count on rapid expansion in the concussed plaintiff’s league. The number of players suing the league has increased exponentially in recent months and continues to climb. Estimates are that as many as 7,000 former players have the potential to sue over mishandling of their concussions. While the NFL might be adding two teams in the next few years—how much longer can they make Los Angeles wait?—you can certainly expect droves of our former gridiron heroes suffering from memory loss, vision problems, headaches, and dementia to step forward and lawyer up. If all the players who could potentially sue the league do so, there will be enough for 132 teams. Take that, NFL!

The plaintiffs league offers some advantages over the NFL, as well: these players are not subject to the recently enhanced limitations on playing with concussions and blissfully ignorant of the repercussions of being run back out there with that damage. Nor is there need to buy them the expensive health insurance they require. Have you looked into the costs of insuring a 50-year-old ex-lineman weighing 350 pounds with bad hips, knees, and memory loss? Ask any NFL owner, he'll tell you. You can’t afford it.

What are you waiting for? Get ready for the Reality Football League! It's the future of football.

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