Mac Engel: Real NFL experience not what it's cracked up to be
The NFL Experience has come to downtown Indianapolis as my fellow Hoosier brethren have our collective existence validated by hosting a Super Bowl. A most sincere congrats to my little hometown.
As we here in the great state of Texas learned last year, despite the bad weather, hosting a Super Bowl can be a lot of fun with celeb sightings and the energy and buzz generated by the world's biggest one-day sporting event.
Part of the fun included is the theme-park NFL Experience, where kids and adults partake in activities designed to see what it's like to play in an NFL game and be around that scene.
My oldest brother, Frank, whined and complained endlessly about his NFL Experience; he felt the whole thing was a rip-off.
Before the Super Bowl returns to the greater FW/d, I offer the following suggestions to modernize and give the fans The Real NFL Experience. These improvements are designed to make the theme park feel more authentic, which should make the paying patrons feel like they are getting their money's worth.
_ The Combine: Fans and kids begin their NFL Experience by changing into form-fitting clothes to have their measurements taken before working out in front of a bunch of old men who probably haven't exercised in five years. Then, you take a written test where the same men will pretend the results will matter and, if the score is low enough, they will be released to the public.
_ The Draft: Projecting players and assigning each to a draft board according to talent is so blase. Go behind the scenes to see how young women in search of love rate the NFL's incoming class, or "free agents" as it were. Each player is rated according a new "husbandry" chart, which is a complex formula that includes decimal points and dollar signs.
_ The Agent: You are a college kid in need of representation. It's your job to pick among a collection of individuals who are fresh out of law school, and are trying to entice you with girls, cars and/or cash advances and promises of lucrative endorsements.
_ The Test: Easily one of the most popular exhibits, this interactive ride gives you a firsthand glimpse into the many exciting breakthroughs in strength training via HGH and steroids. Here, you work with doctors, trainers and agents to "get big" without getting caught. Be sure to time your cycle and the drug test just right to make sure you can play all 16 games.
_ The Lottery: The NFL does not have a lottery like the NBA, but the NFL does feature the "gene pool" lottery. This exhibit makes you feel the joy, pleasure and just plain luck over being born into NFL royalty. Laugh along as you demonstrate zero business skills, secure in the knowledge that one day you will inherit your own professional football team. Colts owner Jim Irsay, Bengals owner Mike Brown and Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill are just some of the tentatively scheduled guest speakers, if their schedule allows.
_ The Stadium: Fans can feel what it's like to be Bengals owner Mike Brown and leverage your favorite team against city politicians to get a new stadium built almost entirely on the backs of your city's taxpayers. Part of this interactive "ride" is equipped with a soundtrack that plays Randy Newman's "I love L.A." as you threaten to move your team west.
_ The Hall of Fame: Sit among the very fortunate few members who vote for the Professional Football Hall of Fame. Part of this exhibit will allow you to stand before your friends and make a case to explain why your favorite player should receive his profession's highest honor. Here, you will try your hand at explaining how Bob Griese and Art Monk are in the Hall of Fame.
The "Cronyism Kiosk" is a very fun, and interactive, part of this ride that each fan may walk through before the final "vote."
_ The Interviews: Fans feel the sheer dread and annoyance of what it is like to be interviewed by a member of the media. Guests will sit half-clothed surrounded by fully-dressed, self-important dorks holding pens who ask, "What was going through your mind when you missed that field goal?" "Talk about your game tonight" and "Why did you think going to Cabo the week before a playoff game was a good idea?"
These are just some suggestions.
North Texas' bid to host a second Super Bowl took a massive PR hit last year.
We need to do everything we can to ensure that when Jerry Jones strong-arms FW/d back into the mix that this time we get it right, and the fans get their money's worth.
Giving them The Real NFL Experience will help.
(c)2012 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at www.star-telegram.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services