Tim Tebow, Could You (or God) Arrange This?

Why not have the best college football team play the worst of the pros?

It was just an offhand comment from one of the announcers for the Alabama/LSU BCS National Championship Game last Monday—the game in which the Tide defense didn’t let the Tiger offense past the 50-yard line until deep in the fourth quarter. The announcer was talking about walking alongside some of the players on the Tigers’ offensive line. They were big, he said—big enough, he thought, to hold their own against the New Orleans Saints.

My husband Doug looked at me from his rocking chair, one eyebrow inching up. “You know,” he said thoughtfully.

We proceeded to hash it out. Why not? Why the hell not? Why shouldn’t the winner of the BCS National Championship go on to play one more game—against the pro team with the worst record in the league? This year, that would pit the Crimson Tide against either the hapless Rams or the pathetic Colts, both of whom finished the season at 2-14. (We can toss a coin, though I’d rather see Peyton Manning than Sam Bradford get—literally—schooled.) Sure, these teams were bad, but how would they do against a really good college team? “You can’t discount the spirit that college teams have,” Doug pointed out.

“You can’t discount the fact that guys on pro teams have been playing for longer. They’re wiser. More wily,” I countered.

“Yeah, but the college guys are young and healthy. They haven’t been abusing their bodies for as many years.”

“The pros are bigger. Stronger.”

“Fatter. Lazier. They’re in it for the money. College players play for pride.”

“College players play so they can go pro and be in it for the money.”

Back and forth we went, arguing about who would prevail in such an epic face-off. We agreed on one point: There would be a hell of an audience, both televised and live, for the game.

“And probably a lot of really complicated contractual maneuvering,” Doug mentioned.

“And probably a whole lot of advertising money to be made. There are ways to work that stuff out. It’s what lawyers are for.”

It seems like a brilliant idea—but it could never happen. There’s no incentive for professional athletes to chance having their behinds dusted by a bunch of snot-nosed kids. The pros would run the risk of having their elaborately choreographed celebrations—not merely of touchdowns anymore, but of just about anything they’re paid so handsomely to do (make tackles, catch balls, block kicks)—look downright silly: You got beat on that pass by a sophomore majoring in exercise science, dude!

Of course, not so long ago, those pros were sophomores majoring in exercise science. We could go for a nostalgic end-around to attempt to convince them: “Think how excited you would have been to play against the pros when you were still in school!”

Alternatively, we could try a Hail Mary, appealing to their altruistic instincts by offering to donate a portion of TV and attendance proceeds from the game—not to mention merch sales—to fighting childhood cancer or teaching inner-city kids to read. The pros are required to support charitable shit; it’s in their contracts, I think. And then we up the ante: Play in this game, we’ll tell them, and you won’t have to visit dying kids in the hospital, sit on those teeny-tiny chairs in bleak urban schools or worry about your lewd sexting photos turning up on Deadspin for an entire year! A.J. Daulerio’s our fr … —well, he’s a former co-worker, anyway. We could probably convince him to convince his bros at Deadspin. So, Rams and Colts, what do you say?

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  • peter1

    Tell your husband he’s insane. Mediocre Pro coaches (Nick Saban, Pete Carroll) are college legends. Of the last 11 Heisman Trophy winners, RG III not included, two (Cam Newton, Carson Palmer) have made a significant impact as Pros (though I suppose the jury’s still out on Tebow, Bradford and Ingram).

    If you look at the five players on the 1st team All-American offensive line for 2010, they combined to start just 25 games in the NFL this year. These were the best five players at their position in the country in college last year, and they averaged five starts apiece in the Pros in their rookie seasons. The 1st team Center didn’t even get drafted.

    These are men playing a man’s game, as opposed to boys. Men typically don’t reach their physical peak until they’re 25-29 years old.