5) Make Brett Favre retire When a player announces his retirement — especially in a teary, standing-room-only press conference — he should be reinstated in the league only if he can prove that he was swindled out of his entire life savings by a Ponzi-scheming hedge-fund operator. Buh-bye, Brett.

6) When it comes to overtime, make the pro game more like college There is at least one aspect of the college game that makes sense: how it settles overtime games. In college football, both teams get alternating shots at scoring in overtime, until one team prevails. This amounts to a gentlemanly duel. In the pro game's sudden-death format, however, a coin flip determines which team gets the ball. If that team scores first (as the San Diego Chargers did in a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts this past weekend), then the other team never even gets a shot. (And in that case, we were deprived of watching the National Football League's MVP, Peyton Manning, even get on the field.) This would also eliminate the sister-kissing elation of a regular-season tie, as we witnessed this season.


7) Abolish the game-ending foul-shot parade Brazilians call soccer "the beautiful game." That's a great moniker, but basketball also features end-to-end, fast-break action and acts of majesty and artistry, while still outscoring soccer on average by 200-odd points per match.

But there's a flaw in America's beautiful game: intentional fouls committed by a team trailing its opponent to stop the clock and give said trailing team a chance to get back the ball. It makes for TV-test-pattern-level excitement. To curb this buzzkill, a new rule should be enforced: in the last three minutes of a game, whereupon a foul is, in the eyes of the referees, committed with the intent to get the ball back for his team, that player shall be charged with a technical foul. Thus no player can do it twice without reaching the maximum number of technicals allowed and therefore fouling out of the game.

8) Make shots taken from beyond the opposition's foul-shot line worth five points Watching fat guys from the stands make ridiculous shots from center court during a halftime exhibition is usually a guaranteed highlight reel — as good as any LeBron James helicopter dunk. Why not replicate that excitement and make it part of the game too? Any shot taken beyond the opposing team's foul-shot line — approximately 75 feet or more — will thus be worth five points. Besides, blowouts are no fun for anyone, so if a team can groom a five-point specialist, victory will almost never be out of reach.

9) Two words Real swords.

10) Ban gloves-off fisticuffs The great Paul Newman movie Slap Shot was so amusing precisely because it parodied the absurdity of on-ice violence. And while there is a somewhat thrilling element to watching two oversize lugs on skates launch wild haymakers at each other's toothless mugs and try to rip each others jerseys over their heads to better pound them into submission, it's also analogous to watching bear-baiting — or a snuff film.

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