Over at Arrowhead Pride, Joel examines an unorthodox drill taking place at the Chiefs' training camp. Essentially, a Chiefs receiver sits in a porta-potty. Without warning, the door swings open and the receiver must catch the ball thrown at him. While one can appreciate the value of this drill, it's undoubtedly silly. But it's not the silliest. What follows is a run-down of some of the strangest and falsest training camp drill traditions performed around the NFL.
In 1991, the Bills employed a drill very similar to the Chiefs' port-a-potty drill, only the receivers also had to process information from reading materials commonly chosen by bathroom-goers. As a result, Andre Reed learned how to program a Magnavox-brand VCR, and James Lofton demonstrated a remarkable ability to run routes while reciting the active ingredients in a bottle of Softsoap. He went to the Pro Bowl that year.
In preparation for the 2009 season, Jets coach Rex Ryan had a series of targets set up for quarterback Mark Sanchez to hit. To hone his decision-making ability, he was told that if he threw to target A, he would only get only one bottle of water to drink all afternoon. If he hit target B, he would be able to consume a limitless supply of water, but would have to drink it with a salad fork. If he hit Target C, he could drink as much water as he wanted, but he would have to legally change his name to Crapface von Idiot the Third for the duration of training camp. After a moment of contemplation, he threw at Target B and was quite a thirsty fellow for a few weeks.
This season, Raiders running backs are made to run a new drill called the Pete Rozelle, in which they must run down the field holding two footballs at arm's length, one marked NFL and one marked AFL. Regardless of who scores, the touchdown is credited to owner Al Davis, who waits behind the goalpost to take the AFL football and puncture it with a letter opener. This is meant to illustrate the impermanent nature of institutions. The Raiders will be bad at football this year.
Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster, in an effort to boost the agility of his players, has taken to calling audibles to alter blocking assignments. Sometimes he will identify defensive lineman, but he likes to mix things up occasionally by assigning his blockers to sideline personnel, the field itself, the Moon, themselves, the year 2003, American exceptionalism, apathy, lust, the nature of existence, and the letter 4 (paradox!). Last week, offensive tackle Clint Oldenburg tore both rotator cuffs while attempting to block a chilly, overcast morning in Iowa.
The Dallas Cowboys, for some reason, have taken to performing this drill in recent years.
This is terribly ineffective, because NFL linemen don't look like that at all. They are human beings. Perhaps they could have afforded real opponents, had they not spent so much money on their Jumbotron!