King of the Sports World
We all love sports. And yet none of us has ever watched sports and thought, “This game is perfect.” There are always ways to improve how our games are played, and results determined. So with that in mind, I’m now King of the Sports World and am decreeing the following:
In the NFL: The Calvin Johnson rule is no more. If a running back can put the point of the ball on the goal line, have it knocked away and yet still have scored a touchdown, why does a receiver need possession of the ball in the end zone all the way through the end of the play before it is ruled a touchdown? Also, pass interference will be called the college way, a penalty of no more than 15 yards (Though I can be talked into 20). The notion of a 50-yard penalty on what likely is an interpretive call by the official is just too severe.
In College Football: The clock will keep moving after a first down. If we’re talking about making the game safer, fewer plays can help that along. The average college team runs 8-10 more plays a game than an NFL team. Also, and this isn’t necessarily a playing rule, but the College Football Playoff semifinals will take precedent over the Rose and Sugar Bowls in years when those games don’t have the playoff themselves. Thus, all CFP semifinal games will be played on January 1. The CFP is producing the headline games and if the Rose and Sugar Bowls, and their respective conferences tied to those games can’t get along with that program, the CFP will move along without them, thank you very much.
Basketball: All levels should adopt FIBA (International) rules, which allow for fewer timeouts, and players can only call those timeouts in dead-ball situations. The only exceptions I would make are that at the professional level, the quarters be 12 minutes instead of 10. The three-point line be moved to where the NBA has it now, and that in the last two minutes, that a ball be inbounded from where the timeout is called instead of automatically moving the ball to the frontcourt. The timeout is the reward.
NHL: Get rid of the trapezoid behind the net, and allow goaltenders to be able to handle the puck like a third defenseman. Many times a goalie’s stick handling and passing can allow for an effective counterattack. It’s a huge advantage if your team has such a player. Kind of like the pitcher who can hit. Speaking of…
MLB: GET RID OF THE DH. Baseball was meant to be played as a two-way game. The DH destroys this. Baseball instituted new speed-up rules this year and they’ve definitely made a difference. So here’s another one: Do away with the pitching of four balls for an intentional walk. Make your declaration and let’s get the next batter to the plate. Managers should be allowed to go to the mound only to make a pitching change, not to try to settle down a pitcher or discuss strategy. Let the players play. Also, umpires call the strike zone the way it’s written, not the way they choose to interpret it.
Soccer: No shootouts in major championship competition. There are 23 players on a roster, there’s no excuse for them not to be made available to play. And along those lines, extra time is sudden death (Golden Goal). Like hockey, there’s plenty of time for a team to possess the ball and score, and there is nothing more anticlimactic, than a goal being scored in the fifth minute of extra time, and knowing there’s 25 more minutes left. You had 90 minutes plus to decide things, once OT starts, next goal wins. Period. I don’t want a free throw shooting or putting contest to decide something so important.
Golf: At one time it made sense that a player be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard (It cost Roberto DeVincenzo the 1968 Masters). But now with scorers walking with the players, and scoreboard everywhere showing the player’s score, it shouldn’t be on the player to have to worry about that. Also while the US Open 18-hole playoff the day after seems to be the most fair manner to break a tie in a major, it’s also the most impractical for many reasons, and thus the three or four-hole playoff (depending on course layout) used at the British Open and PGA is the right way to decide things. It takes the flukiness of one shot out of play and it still allows for a champion on the final scheduled day.
I’ve obviously had some time on my hands. If only these things would happen, I might love sports more than I already do. And I REALLY love it.