Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why is Offense King in American Sports?

Something has been bugging me for quite a while in the state of American sports. Why is offensive production the only thing leagues and, I guess, fans are interested in? Every time a league makes rule changes or equipment changes, it is always to the benefit of the offense and to increase scoring. I understand the arguments that scoring is exciting, and fans want to watch an exciting product, but I would argue that this focus on scoring/offense is beginning to destroy the games that make these changes.

For example, the NHL made a bunch of rule changes after their lockout to open up the ice and speed up the game, and for the most part I like the new rules. However, because of the tight calling of games, especially hooking calls, the opposite of what was intended often happens in games. Instead of speeding up the flow, you get a choppy game as every ticky-tack hook is called, stopping play. I like the idea of freeing up skaters to do their thing, but the defense should be able to at least make it tough on these wingers. Now the NHL has been considering making the nets larger for more goals. Sorry, but I'm not excited by more scoring when it's done artificially. You could have hockey scores look like NBA scores, just make the whole icing line the net! C'mon, it would be "exciting"! Really, they need to keep the integrity of the game. Some of the best games I've ever seen have been 1-0 games. Yeah, some of those are boring too, but if you're not entertained by two great goaltenders shutting down the opposing team, you have no pulse and are not a fan of the game.

Moving on to the NFL, the way they call pass interference is ridiculous. If a defender breathes on a receiver, flag and ball at the spot of the foul. They really need to let defenders defend, and they should change the PI call to a 15-yard penalty from line of scrimmage. That would at least alleviate the horror of having a numb-nuts ref throw a flag on a bullshit PI call costing your team 80 yards. Also, the protection of quarterbacks has gotten out of control. I understand protecting the most important player when he's in a defenseless position, but now players can only tackle him in the chest?!? No legs, and don't even sneeze at his head! Sorry, but if I'm a 275-pound linebacker, I have 2 choices when rushing the QB- play at full speed at the best of my ability OR hold back so I don't take the chance of a 15-yard personal foul if I can't stop my momentum in time to avoid bumping into the golden by. These are football players for Christ's sake, protect them from cheap shots, but not from actually playing the game. Or, we could make the NFL like backyard pickup- the defenders count to 5 alligators, at which point they are allowed to chase the QB, and he's down if the defender touches him with 2 hands.

Finally, the bitch-ass NBA. I have all kinds of problems with this league, mostly with officiating and the amount of time-outs the teams each get, but let's put those aside for the moment. The new ball introduced this year was partly put into play to increase scoring. In the NBA, when scores are regularly in the 80-100 point per team range, you need more scoring?!? Are you fucking kidding me? They've already eliminated traveling and carrying the ball, and any star that gets looked at funny when he's driving the net gets sent to the foul line for free throws. You're trying to tell me that the thing that really needs to be improved on to make this gutter-sport exciting is more baskets? You know, they could also lower the rim to 6 feet high and make it the diameter of a garbage can, that would increase scoring too.

The point is, give some love to the defense, and quit screwing with the integrity of my sports!


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