With Santa’s big run fast approaching, I ask the big fella to use his magic in granting a few last-minute sports wishes:
1.) Make college football bowl season what it used to be. Sometimes less really is more. Twenty years ago, there were 18 bowl games. This year, 34, and way too many are uninteresting battles of meaninglessness. The move to a 12-game regular season has created a repugnant glut of 6-6 and 7-5 teams that should be in the weight room instead of getting a vacation. Attendance at some of these garbage games rivals the United Football League, as does their relevance. Let’s see some of these bowls go the way of Enron, so that playing in December and January means something once again.
2.) Assure that Notre Dame football will stay comically bad. Some blowhards — Beano Cook comes to mind — profess college football is better when Notre Dame is good. I disagree. Nothing is more enjoyable than to see the deflated Irish and their holier-than-thou, myopically-entranced, elitist fawners endure losses to the likes of Navy, Connecticut and Syracuse. Notre Dame is like Mickey Rourke’s character in “The Wrestler,” a sad shell of a being that can’t let go of past glory. That’s too damn amusing to see disappear.
3.) Don’t let Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell be Tony Dungy. I like to think Caldwell is his own man, and won’t follow Dungy’s rest-the-starters path which led to three early playoff exits. I also want to believe Caldwell is just playing possum, and has every intention of going for a perfect season. It’s the only way to go. Anything less is a slap to the players’ face. Immortality is five wins away, so let Peyton Manning try to give the ‘72 Dolphins something else to do with their lives other than root against everybody.
4.) If the Colts do make it to the Super Bowl in Miami, let it pour all game like in 2007. Only Democrats getting a single Republican vote to pass anything is less likely than being selected in the (alleged) random draw for Super Bowl tickets. I couldn’t afford the $3K on the secondary market three years ago, nor will I be able to this time around. So, if the Colts play for their second title, let it dump on the bastards fortunate enough to be there.
5.) Rid us of NFC East prime-time games forever. This season’s 10 night games involving teams from the overrated and overexposed division are enough to last a lifetime. On Monday, I chose to watch “Apocalypse Now” for the 100th time instead of grimacing at Jason Campbell and the Washington puke-fest. Let’s make an effort to spread the love, boys.
6.) Let the Chicago Bears’ freefall continue while keeping Lovie Smith and staff in place. Sorry Bears fans, but after the way Rex Grossman was treated by many mouth-breathers parading as astute fans at Soldier Field, you deserve what you have. Jesus Cutler hasn’t worked out too well, because he is saddled with the same lack of talent and pea-brained coaching Grossman and Kyle Orton were. You need look no further than the neutralization of the Bears’ greatest weapon — Devin Hester on returns — due to the organization’s inability to draft properly as to why there is no future in the Windy City. Enjoy. I am.
7.) Make the NBA as appealing as its Mariah Carey promos on ESPN. While Mariah gets better with age, the NBA is like the 90-year-old rich woman whose yearly facelifts have yanked her hairline to mid-skull. It’s an often hideous entity that I avoid seeing at all costs.
8.) Allow Butler to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship. A spirited Bulldogs run is about the only thing that can pique my interest in a sport crippled by decades of early talent drain to the NBA. The roster turnover has left college hoops with no sustained personality. It simply isn’t captivating, even if it still gives Dick Vitale a dozen orgasms per broadcast.
9.) Please save quality sports (and news) journalism. A good friend of mine recently lost his job as sports editor, not long after his section was named the best in Illinois. Thousands of other jobs are gone and others are being forced into pay cuts and furloughs. Like clean air and water, journalism isn’t going to be truly missed until it’s gone. If you don’t think it’s important, call your local TV station and ask them where 95 percent of their story ideas come from. They pull them from the newspaper every morning. We all know times are tough, but information is a commodity we can’t afford to lose.
10.) Deliver Tiger Woods to my home to complete his offseason rehab. I will gladly put a driving net and putting green in my basement, and serve as an intermediary between Tiger and the local waitresses. All I ask in return is a little tutoring from Tiger so my golf game is slightly better than his was at 2 years old.
Thanks, Santa, and Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.