College basketball is kicking into high gear now that THIS IS MARCH, while the NBA and NHL have teams jockeying for positions with the playoffs on then horizon. We are starting to enter a bit of a silly season when it comes to events that don’t really have much of a “home field advantage”. This week the NFL Combine will be held in Indianapolis, and the Big Ten will hold their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Chicago over the next two weeks.
We aren’t here to argue if the Big Ten should look at other locations for their college basketball conference tournaments. They tried that by branching out to New York City and Washington D.C. and the results were underwhelming. If the Big Ten thinks they should hold their college basketball tournaments anywhere besides Chicago and Indianapolis, just go and stuff whatever geniuses are behind that idea into a locker.
What we thought would be fun this week would be to create your dream scenario for an “irregular event” when it comes to the setting. For example, the NFL Draft being held in downtown Columbus, much like has been done recently in Cleveland and Nashville. Or, the UEFA Champions League Final being held at Lower.com Field. Obviously the latter would never happen, but since we are playing around in fantasyland with today’s question, your imagination can run wild.
Today’s question: What is your dream setting for an “irregular sports event”?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: WrestleMania at Ohio Stadium
I am well aware that WrestleMania will never be held at Ohio Stadium. Heck, WrestleMania will never be held in the state of Ohio. We can’t even get Ohio State to even consider the idea of holding an NHL outdoor game at The Horseshoe, so I know there is no chance that the showcase annual event in professional wrestling will be held at one of college football’s most iconic stadiums. There is a better chance of me winning the WWE Championship than WrestleMania coming to Columbus.
It’s still fun to imagine the event being held here, though. Columbus is the birthplace of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, so you can’t tell me this city doesn’t have professional wrestling pumping through its veins. As if that wasn’t enough, current WWE star Alexa Bliss also hails from Columbus. Last night even saw WWE’s Monday Night RAW held at Nationwide Arena. I was at the Fastlane PPV back in 2018, as well as NXT events held at what used to be Express Live! before COVID-19 kept NXT from hitting the road.
Don’t get me wrong, I think WWE is a pretty terrible product these days when it comes the creative and roster management. For me, AEW is far superior, but since the rival organization is still relatively new, it doesn’t quite have anything that can rival WrestleMania when it comes to a marquee event. Much like how the Indy 500 isn’t quite what it used to be, but 200,000 people still show up for it every year. I have no doubts there wouldn’t be an empty seat inside Ohio Stadium if WrestleMania decided to hold the event there one year.
Meredith’s answer: NFL Combine, various locations
In terms of dream scenarios, I’d vote to alter the format of the NFL Combine to an Amazing Race format, which, granted, doesn’t help to answer the location question since it would by definition happen in multiple locations across the country and around the world.
Hear me out: Not only would we get realistic measures of strength and speed (running through airports, juking passerby), but NFL teams would also gain a better understanding of players’ ability to leverage critical thinking skills and work as a team. While these two components, granted, are already evaluated through pre-draft interviews and the Wonderlic test, it would make for great reality TV and be far more entertaining for a broadcast audience.
Top teams from this year’s combine might include:
- Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and cornerback Ahmad Gardner
- Wide receiver Garrett Wilson and linebacker Nakobe Dean
- Wide receiver Chris Olave (yes, the perfect teammate) and defensive end George Karlaftis
With the options above, my money would be on Olave and Karlaftis. Olave, as we’ve seen from his time at Ohio State, is the perfect teammate, and Karlaftis is a native of Greece and would be a huge asset should the race head to Europe.
The winners obviously get to be co-No.-1-overall selections in the NFL Draft.
The location itself, while the original question, could be variable: A domestic competition could feature Combine prospects completing tasks in cities which have NFL franchises. A foreign competition would bring excitement around the NFL to new markets.
There would be challenges. Some positions might be at a distinct disadvantage (like offensive linemen), but there would probably be scenarios where only special teams players could succeed. Of course, this format defeats the purpose of having a level playing field and consistent metrics across players and positions. But it would still be fun.
Plus, who doesn’t love a multi-step, elimination-based competition that has a winner and a grand prize at the end?