ByDylan Bonds, writer at
Lifetip: Pokérus is fatal to humans, but those sweet 2x EVs are worth it.
Dylan Bonds

After hearing about Chip Kelly being fired from the San Francisco 49ers, a Redditor made a prediction for the team's future coach hires:

Which got me wondering: What if the popular streaming platform really did take control of the 49ers or anyone else? Twitch Plays Pokémon demonstrated the anarchic potential of collaborative play, so what if we applied that to a real life team?

Twitch playing 'Pokémon Red' [Credit: Nintendo]
Twitch playing 'Pokémon Red' [Credit: Nintendo]

For those of you who don't know what Twitch Plays Pokémon is, in 2014 there was a playthrough of Pokémon Red with a twist. All the commands were voted for through chat comments (up, down, start, a, etc.). It gained an impressive 36 million total channel views, and a peak viewership of 120,000 at one time.

Now try and picture an NFL team under Twitch's control.

An Unpredictable Draft

Imagining Chat making draft picks is the stuff of nightmares. Do you really think one of the top new Quarterbacks is going to be picked? Let's face it, first round pick is going to be a Kicker. Although maybe that's a good thing considering punts and Field Goal attempts are probably going to make up 50% of the plays during the season.

As horrific as it certainly will be for the poor team under 'Twitch Plays NFL' control, the extreme unpredictability of the picks will force other teams to change their strategies a little. Ok, it may seem like the equivalent of moving up one in pick order, but what if your 'sure-fire' third round pick gets taken in the first?

The Perfect Preseason

Here we go. A team full of holes with seven new kickers. Of course they probably won't kick at all in preseason 'cos that'd be too straightforward. A team controlled Twitch Chat is chaos incarnate. Nothing is out of the question.

An entire half where all the plays are 4 Verticals? Combined with a single fake punt and we have the opposition too puzzled to even play. Can the Seahawks defense really put up with the onslaught of verts? Wait don't answer that, since preseason doesn't mean anything anyway...

A Cool 16-0 Regular Season

The starting line-ups, the time-outs and all the substitutes will all be decided by the commenters on Twitch, so there's no one to blame but themselves.

But most importantly, the plays are also decided by these keyboard warriors with nothing to lose. The idea of watching someone like Tom Brady as he's told to run a QB Sneak on 4th & 15, down by 2 points and 10 seconds on the clock excites me greatly.

So many trick plays, so little time.
So many trick plays, so little time.

Can the fans be trusted with making the decisions regarding their team? Trolls and all, Twitch did end up completing each Pokémon game they played, but can this trial-and-error method really be applied to sports?

What about eSports? This would certainly be less of a step away from the origins of Twitch Plays and would likely be a lot more accepted and welcomed. I bet a lot of people would love to see games like this, where teams are split into regions and compete using commands inputted via Twitch Chat.

One Million Superbowl Rings

Although there is technically no set limit as to how many rings can be made for a team, the NFL only pays for the first 150 so giving each person who issued a command a ring may get pretty expensive.

I guess a solution will have to be seriously considered when whichever team 'Twitch Plays NFL' controls beats out Cleveland at Superbowl LI (51). Those diamond-studded rings aren't cheap either.

Not sure whether to laugh or cry at this.
Not sure whether to laugh or cry at this.

Let's Make It Happen

I'm sure after the inevitable success of 'Twitch Plays NFL', plenty of teams will be firing Head Coaches and embracing chaos in an effort to become victorious.

However, if no team will accept this new coaching style, then perhaps it's time to make our own team and storm the NFL. And although this sounds like a joke, there is actually a team which is going down this route.

Salt Lake Screaming Eagles are a newly-formed indoor football team which has allowed its fans to vote on major decisions such as the team's name and location.

For example, here are the top ten choices when it came to a team name:

  • Screaming Eagles - 60%
  • Utah Sandtroopers - 24%
  • Utah Teamy McTeamface - 6%
  • Utah Stormin' Mormons - 3%
  • Utah Legion - 2%
  • Utah Ligers - 2%
  • Salt Lake Inversion - 1%
  • Salt Lake Spaghetti Monsters - 1%
  • Utah Electric Emus - 1%
  • Salt Lake Riot - 1%

Ok it's not quite got to the point where plays are chosen nor is it as anarchic as it would be when using twitch chat, but it's a start. A taster of what could eventually be.

Maybe 'Twitch Plays NFL' isn't as farfetched as it sounds.

Prefer Pokémon to NFL? This video shows 20 years progression through the games:

What do you think of the idea? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below!


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