Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Too Much Dabbling?

Yesterday I reported on Jerome Chanpagne's candidacy for FIFA presidency, and also praised him for at least wading into the waters of trying to make a referee's life easier by creating an "orange card" that would have the effect of putting an offending a player in a "sin bin."

He has also suggested a variety of other changes that can be seen at the article.

In the face of all of these suggested changes, and that of MLB approving expanded replay in 2014 and the NFL tinkering with the thought of eliminating the point after touchdown (PAT), are leagues going too far to change the game they represent?

I think so. Instead of tackling the real issues in sport like PEDs, corruption, professional referees, the respective administrators of their sport want to tinker with silly elements that have been, or not been, part of the game for a long time.

If you want to look at a pioneer for changes to the game, look at Sir Ken Aston with the truly meaningful changes he made throughout his life.

Some changes are necessary with time, such as helmets for football players, and eventually as a result in 1956 penalties called "facemasks" were introduced.

Or maybe in gameplay itself as when icing was introduced in 1937 to speed up play and promote attacking hockey.

As I have stated here before I am not a fan of all the technology into the game to "assist" referees. Man has not evolved to the point that another man can't detect if they are cheating or not, as hard as they may try. Changes to the respective games today seem to be toward the introduction of these technological "advances" to "assist" referees.

While there is a case to be made for the technology assistance from some, fundamental changes to the game, such as how the game is scored should be left alone. Last time something like this was changed in the NFL was 1912 when a touchdown was increased from 5 points to 6. Now 100 years later we need to change this for some reason?

In this day and age, changes to the game are not made for the sake of the game itself I feel, but rather to appeal to the widest television market a sport can attain, or correctly said, allow for as many advertisers as possible. I suspect the NFLs motivation is more in this vein.

While an argument has been made that (in the case of the NFL) these PATs are "automatic"and one notable coach names these as "non-plays" and there should not be "non-plays" in the game, it has been part of the game for a long time, and one that still provide some drama, however rare. Currently the last PAT missed was back in December of 2012. In the current season the conversion is hovering around 99.97%.

Not all that long ago (1932) the conversion rate for PATs was around 67% and teams in needing these point developed specialists to nab the PAT. Why take it away? Why not take away the 2 point conversion as well then? Field goals? Forward passes?

Like any game, I want it to be exciting, and some trains of thought may see the PAT as a non-exciting element of the game today. I respectfully disagree. In fact it heightens the drama as you should want to be there for that moment a kicker misses, or a team produces a trick play and runs it in.

How about this for a change to make the PATs more exciting ... make a touchdown worth 4 points ... a filed goal 3 ... retain the 2 point conversion ... and a PAT worth 1.

Yes the scores will be lower, but that PAT will mean a whole lot more.

Clearly it is unlikely they  will change the point value for a touchdown. Why? Certainly tradition.
So they why change the PAT?

Getting back to soccer, a very nice synopsis of law changes can be found here, courtesy of FIFA. Trust me, FIFA has done some dumb things to the LOTG as well, and at times has used the MLS as its petri dish.

I can sum this up in a word (from the early days of MLS):


For those who don't know about it ... imagine a set of (5) kicks per team, a goalkeeper in their net, a player at the 35 yard line, and the rest of the team at midfield. Everybody is in place and waiting. The JAR drops their flag and 22 players run at the ball in an effort to score or defend a score.

It was so absurd and so short lived I can't even find any video evidence of it.

FIFA and MLS quickly got the point how stupid it was, and abandoned the practice.

Tinkering is fine, kick ins for example were actually a cool idea and made sense for the game played with the feet ... but goofing around with the fabric of the game is not.

Just leave it alone guys, please.

No comments:

Post a Comment