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What bonding activities do you think NFL teams should try?

Some teams choose Dave & Busters and paintball. We would pick beer pong and reenacting “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

The NFL offseason seems like it’s never-ending. First there’s rookie minicamps, then offseason training activities, then mandatory minicamps, and to be honest, it’s all pretty paint-dryingly boring. The players wear what seem like Pop Warner versions of their actual jerseys. A helmet and shorts complete the uniform. Maybe a couple of guys get into a scuffle, or a superstar decides to hold out. But that’s about as much entertainment as we get.

Luckily for the players, they get a break from the monotony with team-bonding activities.

Every year, Mike Tomlin embraces his inner suburban dad and gives the Steelers a day off to go to Dave & Busters. This year, the Colts took a paintballing break, and the Saints went on a scavenger hunt throughout the city.

The San Francisco 49ers invited everybody’s families over for a barbecue and even had a bouncy castle for kids. (It would be funny if the players could jump around in there, but they’d probably end up deflating it like they were Tom Brady.)

So that got us thinking: If we were a coach, how would we have our team cut loose? Here are our choices.


The point of these team-bonding activities is to find a fun and safe way to bring a team together. Bo-Taoshi probably does the opposite. My only real reason or justification for picking this is it would be really cool to watch NFL players do it.

What’s Bo-Taoshi? A crazy Japanese sport where one swarm of humanity runs through another swarm to try to pull down a pole:

Would players get too carried away and end up fighting and/or injuring each other? Almost definitely. But whew, I want to be there to watch.

And it’s not like it’s any more dangerous than the NFL. The offseason usually pits a team’s offense against its defense with players from both sides battling each other for roster spots and jobs. Why not double down with an offense vs. defense game of Bo-Taoshi? — Adam Stites

Monopoly (Jets only)

The Jets are in for an awful season, set to bottom out in 2017 and find their quarterback of the future at the top of the 2018 draft. What better way to do that than by assuring they lose every single game of the upcoming season?

A weeklong Monopoly tournament would serve as the perfect backdrop to get the majority of the team suspended. According to Hasbro*, the average time between unboxing the little pewter terrier and making threats against other players is a mere 47 minutes. Nothing would ensure the No. 1 pick faster than the litany of disciplinary action that would follow seven days of America’s most torturous board game.

Sheldon Richardson flips a table and punches Quincy Enunwa after being charged $1,200 to stay at Marvin Gardens? Looks like he’ll miss a chunk of the season. An errant Christian Hackenberg roll flies over the table and inadvertently hits Jamal Adams in the eye? Better send him to the IR, just in case. Leonard Williams‘ insistence on buying all the railroads sends Matt Forte into a fury-induced early retirement? That’s gonna leave New York real thin at tailback.

Monopoly would turn the New York locker room into the seventh circle of hell, but it would also give head coach Todd Bowles the losing season he’s destined for with the kind of caveats that could save his job and present a brighter 2018. After all, the game was enough to tear apart the Soprano family, and the Jets are nowhere near as successful. — Christian D’Andrea

*possibly apocryphal

Capture the flag

You can’t name a better playground game than capture the flag. In these practice facilities that NFL teams have nowadays, or even in their monster stadiums, you could set up one heck of a game.

Capture the flag is all about good strategy, but the variety of athletes who football teams have would make for an even more interesting game. Some coordination on who should be going after the flags and who could be a decoy, would force players to think critically in trying to outsmart their teammates.

Could you imagine if a team like the Falcons were playing among themselves? You’d think players like Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, or Tevin Coleman would be the main flag capturers on the roster — until Vic Beasley or Deion Jones comes out of nowhere. Those skill position players are key, but you can’t forget how shifty the defense is.

Above all else, capture the flag is fun for everybody involved. Anybody who’d turn down a game is a party pooper. — Harry Lyles Jr.

Beer Pong

The offseason is a grind. There’s such a short break, especially for playoff teams, between the end of the season and the start of offseason workouts. Once teams get through mandatory minicamp, it’s time to unwind. What better way to do that than a friendly beer pong competition among teammates?

You might think an offensive lineman or one of the big guys on the other side of the ball would be best suited for this, just because their size would mean they have greater tolerance. But I’d put my money on Raiders punter Marquette King if Oakland decided to go the beer pong route.

A few teams, like the Falcons, already have pingpong tables set up in their locker rooms. All they need to make this happen is a few cases of beer and some cups. Jeanna Thomas

Ferris Buellering

Ferris Buellering is something I, just right now, made up*, but I’m already convinced it’s the best game in America. It’s part scavenger hunt, part roleplaying, part hide and seek, and it’s a game that any NFL team — not just the Chicago Bears — can play.

The premise: Reenact Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as closest as possible in your city. That means scoring reservations (bonus points if you use the name “Abe Froman”) to one of the fanciest restaurants in town. Go sightseeing. Cheer on the local baseball team. Check out a museum.

Odell Beckham Jr., Eli Manning, and Brandon Marshall enjoying a day of Ferris Buellering

The chance that a Von Steuben Parade — or frankly, any parade — is happening at the same time is unlikely, and “borrowing” a car is unwise, but there are easy substitutes for both. Instead of dancing around and lip syncing to “"Danke Schoen” and “Twist and Shout,” head to the closest karaoke bar. Don’t joyride. Do go-kart.

While the players are getting their Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane on, the coaches will have their own roles to play. They’ll be roaming the city too, trying to catch the players redhanded, Principal Rooney style. One coach will act as the Jeannie, a frenemy that gives players a free pass if their paths cross — but only once. — Sarah Hardy

*based on characters created by John Hughes, of course


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