Seahawks' quarterback competition could be reality TV gold
Why not have coach Pete Carroll put his three quarterback candidates through a televised challenge to see who should be the starter?
Seattle Times NFL reporter
Camp CarrollSeahawks training camp begins Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with the first of 13 practices to be held at the team's training facility in Renton. Those practices are open to the public, but advance registration is required, which entails a $6 transportation fee. Registration information is available online at http://bingtrainingcamp .seahawks.com
Saturday: First training-camp practice begins at 10:30 a.m.
Aug. 11: Exhibition game at home vs. Tennessee Titans.
There's an opportunity here, coach Pete Carroll.
This whole competition thing you've got going at quarterback has some real traction. You've got the whole city of Seattle — and to a certain extent, the rest of the NFL — waiting and wondering whether Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn or rookie Russell Wilson will be your starting quarterback.
No one even knows how you're going to decide, when you're going to decide or where you'll announce your decision, which brings us back to the unique opportunity that you've got here: reality television.
We're not talking about the "Real Housewives of Queen Anne" here or any of that Kardashian mess. We're talking real competition, captured on camera and beamed across a country that has shown no limit in its appetite for watching all things NFL. Think "Survivor" with spirals or "The Bachelor" on a playing field, instead of someone playing the field.
You like to talk about doing things that have never been done before; well, this would be unprecedented, taking a competition for one of the most prestigious jobs in professional sports, structure some rules and let the drama unfold.
Call it the "Win Forever Quarterback Quest," get Dockers to kick in some khakis for you, and then let America sprain its neck watching an NFL team decide its starting quarterback on national TV.
"Hard Knocks" is going to be in Miami following a franchise that hasn't won a playoff game in more than a decade and is trying to prop up Matt Moore as a viable starter. Here in Seattle, the most important job on an intriguing team is up for grabs.
And think of all the fun that could unfold once we put some rules in place, which is where it gets fun. See, we can structure the competition any number of ways, taking formats that have proved successful. Just imagine the possibilities.
Pitch 1: "The courtship: QB or not QB?"
Synopsis: The process of choosing a quarterback inevitably gets compared to marriage, so why not make light of the whole courtship ritual? Think "The Bachelor" for football. Instead of roses, quarterbacks are given playbooks. Instead of dates, it's meetings in the office.
We'll get a glimpse inside the relationship that develops between coach and quarterback, from the sentimental moment when coach tells quarterback that height isn't anything but a number to when a quarterback assures the coach that he doesn't, in fact, look like U.S. women's soccer team coach Pia Sundhage.
Drawback: There's a previous relationship to consider, and things could start to feel awkward when Carroll starts asking Jackson how it's going to be different this time around. "The Bachelor" works because everyone is starting from scratch, and the reality in Seattle is that there's a fair amount of history here.
Pitch 2: "Survivor"
Synopsis: The show is usually set in some exotic, mildly frightening climate like Borneo, Indonesia. Or Kent. But this season, it goes into one of the most terrifying places on earth: the NFL pocket. The format is custom made for skills competitions, from accuracy contests to distance throws to forcing each of the three contestants to take a full-speed hit from a blitzing linebacker. Each episode gets its own climax where the three quarterbacks are called together to wait and see whose torch might get extinguished that week.
Drawback: People that win "Survivor" generally appear to be in dire need of a 14-day vacation at an all-inclusive spa as opposed to being prepared to begin a 16-game NFL season. Perhaps putting your most important player through a gauntlet of demanding and dangerous rituals isn't the best idea to get set for the season.
Pitch 3: "The Maury Povich" model
Synopsis: There might not be a more dramatic moment on television than when Maury Povich has a couple on stage awaiting the outcome of a paternity test. Playing quarterback doesn't come down to DNA, but what's to stop you from making the announcement in similarly dramatic fashion? Bring Russell Wilson on stage, show the highlights from his college career, his reaction to draft day and recite his résumé from training camp before having Pete Carroll look at the cue card and say, "Russell Wilson, you are — (dramatic pause) — not the Seahawks' starting quarterback in Week 1."
Drawback: There's no serial possibility here. It's just a one-off moment, and while that instant would be very dramatic, there's no way to have a sequel or periodic installment.
So maybe our formats need some work, but we've got ratings gold here, Coach.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil