traditionalists will never win, especially in sports. with the camera technology that we have today, we see the action like never before -- but that’s also made the viewing public more demanding in how the game is played and how the game is called.
we want every call to be right. we expect every call to be right.
soccer, yes soccer (i’ll get to that in a sec), is a great game with an amazing history, and perhaps most of all a terrific vernacular. but as we wont to do from time to time, it’s time for america to improve or at least “improve” (for our sake) the game of soccer… with a few tweaks, i think this sport could become more than a once every four years fascination in this country.
-embrace the term “soccer”
stop fighting for the name football. that's a losing battle. plus, sports with “ball” in the name are kinda boring… hockey, tennis, cricket, golf, ping pong, you name it -- they are all better names than baseball, basketball, and yes even football (whichever football you’re talking about).
we don’t need a rule change here, but rather just how the rule is interpreted and called in a game. basically, just keep your flag down ref. if a player is borderline offsides, don’t call it. in essence, the tie goes to the runner -- where the burden of proof is substantial in order to call a player offsides. the result? more goals, more aggression, and more excitement.
-sudden death extra time (overtime)
the boring part about soccer is that “prevent defense” can start before half time. and even in “extra time”, you’ll often see the lesser team just trying to get to penalty kicks where any team can win. so keep the two 15 minute extra periods, but make it first goal wins. voila. no longer can a team sit back and hope for penalty kicks.
at least for the world cup, let's add more referees… baseball goes from three or four to six in the playoffs. and in soccer the pitch is fucking huge. let’s add a few more refs to get all the angles -- especially those flops in the penalty area where another set of eyes or two can change a game.
no challenges. no stoppage of play… just a team in a booth or off site (much like hockey or baseball or college football) that reviews key plays, fouls, and flops in near real time. if they see something to overturn, they call down to the referee. with the amount of dead time with free kicks or penalty kicks or “injuries”, there’s more than enough time to get every call right without slowing the game. and just like in football, if a team is afraid of a call being overturned, they can hurry up.
so while you’re watching the final today between germany and argentina -- enjoy the match, take in the vernacular, and consider how a few tweaks just might make this game more exciting for us all.
what would you change?