Any random alien that had the misfortune of blundering into an earth landing would certainly assume that every living soul on the planet is thoroughly captivated by pro sports. The airwaves and internet are completely saturated with breathless hourly coverage of pro athletics by talentless hacks and toupee wearing sportscasters, (completely bald if black ex athletes). There is an apparently endless level of interest in the groinal condition of obscure lefty relievers, the personal grooming habits of star cornerbacks, and the sneaker preferences of starting point guards.
However, there truly are millions of people who don’t give a rip about pro sports. Sometimes this is for highly understandable reasons, such as a preference for movies based on Jane Austin novels (there are apparently two thousand of these), those that prefer hiking or kayaking to memorizing box scores, or those afflicted with the zombie virus. .
However, I believe there are millions of possible pro sports enthusiasts out there, who simply find the games to have become endless plodding snooze-fests. . Major league baseball consists mainly of batters stepping out to pull on gloves and adjust their privates. Games can take four hours, more if there are extra innings. You really have to be reading a novel, or grooming your cat, or something productive to fill in between the minimal actual pitchin’ and hittin’.
So, clearly sports needs some livening up if they ever hopes to attract new fanatics. I humbly offer the following rule changes to speed up the games and reinject excitement into sport. I am only covering the big five sports here, you will have to come up with your own ideas to how to liven up golf, dog and cat shows, competitive hot dog eating, etc.
Here is a game that I actually played as a kid. (so you can logically infer, I did not grow up in San Diego or Miami). I was a fan when there were only six pro teams. BTW, I am old, not dead yet. Although a thoroughly mediocre player, I idolized guys like Bobby Orr, Jean Beliveau, and Wayne Gretzky, (who needs to have hundreds more daughters).
But I digress. Hockey has become a game where no goals are scored, where blue line infractions are more prevalent than offsides calls in Futball, and fans care more about the fights than the game itself. Time for some unsolicited (and likely unwelcome) input into fixing a broken game.
- Double the size of the goal, and you double the number of goals. Combine this with making goalies wear pads that are like a baseball catcher’s. Currently hockey goalies wear pads so large that they actually block out 80% of the goal, how fair is that? They look like the before pictures from the World’s Biggest Loser TV show, or possibly Escalades. Outlaw humongous pads and cut the gloves in half; most goalies look like they are wearing a Barcaloungers on their glove hand. We might possibly see some scoring.
- Play 30 minute halves, not three 20 minute periods. This will reduce twenty minutes of commercials and witless ex-jock yak, where the over the hill players in the broadcast booth trade tired jokes and stale stories from their pro careers. They might even mention that the losing team needs to “play within themselves” whatever the f**k that means.
- Eliminate the blue lines. For reasons best explained by someone in the league office, currently you can’t cross the blue line when on offense until the puck is across and into the defensive end. The practical result is called dump and skate hockey, where the offensive team shoots the puck into the defensive end and everyone scrambles to get it. Mostly what happens is that the defensive team grabs the puck and clears it. Never mind a crisp pass to a streaking player, resulting in a breakaway attempt. This approach handicaps offense and rewards lazy defenders.
- An aspect of modern hockey that I absolutely despise is all the defensive players flopping on the ice whenever a shot is taken. This takes the 20% of the goal area left open by the Sumo wrestler playing goalie and cuts is by another 80%. I HATE this. So, my suggestion is to outlaw defensive flopping, anyone who hits the ice during a shot by the offense gets a five minute penalty, and the offensive team gets a five minute power play. ALLRIGHT! NOW we are talking excitement.
- Since my innovative and cogent input on other sports, having the players wear speedos, won’t work in Hockey, I had to really dig deep to attract more female fans. Maybe a Chippendale’s like dance contest by the bench players before the game? Get Michael Ontkean and have him strip on the jumbotron, (sorry, obscure Slapshot reference there).
- For the pervy male fans, there are currently cheerleaders but you can’t see them during the game. The obvious answer is the cheerleader jumbotron. Or possibly hang a few of them in cages which are suspended over the ice, like the go-go dancers you see in bad 70’s movies.
- Eliminate face offs. Another horrendous aspect of a pro sport, like free throw shooting in basketball and penalty kicks in soccer. Pass the bennies please! Instead, I propose that when the goalie ties up the puck, or the puck gets held against the boards, the ref picks it up and flings it randomly out into an open area, play continues. We would eliminate the stick hacking face offs that kills drama and excitement. CSpan is more interesting than face offs.
- I am going counter to your expectations, and say figure out a way to eliminate fighting. Let’s face it, the fights stink. If you start a fight, five game unpaid suspension, and your team goes short-handed the rest of the game. Play some hockey, don’t pretend to be bad asses. If we have to have fights, put them in a ring at the end of the game in tight shorts and boxing gloves, That would be worth watching. Current hockey fights are a tiresome bore.
- Hockey penalty shots are great. Liven them up a little by having a defensive player able to chase the offensive player 2 seconds after they get the puck at center ice; this would create more tension and hence, fun!
- No ties. After a tie game, play three on three until somebody scores. game over. With less players there is no jamming up the red line.
There you have it, I have improved the game immensely. If only EVERYONE were as insightful as me. If you are a hockey traditionalist, and prefer 2-1 cures for insomnia, feel free to tell me what a schmuck I am.