Monday, June 21, 2010

four reasons why soccer is dumb (and I like soccer)

Yup, I like soccer. A lot. But it's a sport that, for whatever reason (and I don't know the history), has rules seemingly intended to make it as dumb as possible.

So, four reasons why soccer is dumb, listed in increasing level of importance:

(4) There are no clock stoppages. I mean, really... It's the 21st century. Surely FIFA can manage to put a competent thumb on a stopwatch and, when the ball goes out or play stops for whatever other reason, the clock stops too. How novel. Then both the players and fans will know when the game is over.

(3) Only one referee. Or official. Or whatever he's called. This is crazy dumb. You don't want so many officials running around that they're getting in the way, but surely there's room for more. Compare soccer to basketball. In basketball, there are ten players on a tiny little court and, at the professional level, three officials. They still miss stuff. They still get calls wrong. Ya just need more than one pair of eyes. Letting the side judges call and weigh in on fouls would be a nice start, but really they need another couple dudes out there too. At least.

(2) Only three substitutions per game. At least, I think that's the rule. And it's dumb. Why not unlimited substitutions? Why not let players come out and go back in? It would keep the players fresher, which would speed up play, which would make the match more exciting and likely result in more goals.

(1) The offsides rule. So dumb. I can't even imagine the absurd logic that resulted in this rule. People say the offsides rule prevents cherry-picking. I say, what's wrong with cherry-picking? (If it's a concern, throw a defender back there on the would-be fruit-lover.) People say there's elegance to offensive strategy because of the offsides rule. No doubt. And discarding the rule would call for new strategies, but would they be less elegant? Can you imagine basketball with an offsides rule?

So there you have it, FIFA, MLA, whoever wants them. Make these changes and your sport will be so much better. So much. Fix #4 and there's room for TV breaks. Maybe you don't think that's such a good thing, but if television were able to peddle advertising slots in the traditional (American) way, it's likely there would be more television coverage, which would increase fan interest. Win-win. Fix #3 and the conspiracy element associated with officiating would be much reduced. Perceptions of fairness would increase dramatically. Fix #2 and #1 and you'll have a game with more scoring, which is of course more exciting, but will likely also significantly reduce the chances of a draw, which is the lay person's most voiced complaint about soccer.

However, even for that I have a recommendation. After 90 minutes, if the score is tied, the teams enter a series of 10-minute sudden-death overtime periods where in each consecutive period teams must give up one player, starting with the keeper. Goals will be scored.

You're welcome very much.

1 comment:

KanyonKris said...

I'm with you on all 4.

The offsides rule is ridiculous. It's hard to judge and interrupts play.

I'm OK with ties, as FIFA handles them. Shootouts seem silly - let's play a team-vs-team game for 90 minutes then if they tie we'll play a 1-on-1 game to decide it. Your sudden death idea is better than shootouts.