Sunday, September 20, 2009

On The Future of American Football

I caught part of a football game on TV for the first time this year. I didn't personally know anybody on either team, and the outcome didn't impact my personal life one way or another, so I had no interest in who won the game.

Now that I've demonstrated that I'm not a good example of the proper American sports fan, let me mention why I find football very disappointing. It has the potential to enable a great deal of creativity and excitement in the games, with both teams regularly scoring above 75 points. Instead, it often seems that it has advanced only marginally from the days of Knute Rockne and the Fighting Irish in the 1920's. If coaches were REALLY serious about exploring some innovative ways to win, this is what I would expect to see in American football:

1) The last play of the first half should ALWAYS be a long pass into the endzone, or a field goal attempt. The only excuse for not doing this is sheer laziness. There are currently too many overpaid lazy coaches in the NFL for my taste.

2) A ball carrier should never run out of bounds, or allow himself to be easily pushed out of bounds, unless he is trying to stop the clock.

3) A center should always hike the ball when the defense jumps offsides. This should be basic fundamentals that every team does starting in high school.

4) Teams should go for it more on 4th down.

5) All punts should be towards a sideline. If someone on the opposing team caches a punt and starts to run it back, the punter failed his job.

6) No huddle offense with a quick snap and a shot-gun formation should be the norm. This business of giving the defense time to check out the offensive formation and get organized is just silly.

7) Rugby players have clearly shown that you can do multiple laterals per play reliably after some practice. It should be common in football to see multiple laterals per play.

8) Runs into the middle of the line should be very rare. Why do coaches still insist on running plays into where the greatest concentration of defensive players are? Makes no sense to me.

9) Most plays should be designed to score a touchdown when properly executed. If a play is only designed to get 5-10 yards, it seems that the coaching staff only did half their planning job.

10) Get rid of the damn nets behind the goal posts. Let fans keep any balls that go into the stands. It means a lot to the fans with the worst seats in the stadium, and trying to claim that it's too expensive for NFL teams to loose a dozen or so footballs per game is basically treating the fans like they're complete idiots who will believe absolutely any lie you tell them.

11) Fans need to form unions to prevent team and stadium owners from treating them as poorly as they do. There's no excuse for owners to abuse loyal fans so badly, or to tolerate lazy coaching staffs that refuse to bring the game into the 21st century, and there's no excuse for fans to accept this. When I see the first attempt by sports fans to form their own union, then maybe I'll regain some interest in football again.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it :-)
Mike Ignatowski

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I happened to come across this and noticed that most of your post ignorant of american football, which you claim at the start so I guess it's ok. Here would be my responses to your points.
1) The last play is usually a hail mary or field goal when possible, but a player can only kick a ball 60ish yards and throw it maybe 70. So in some cases it is not worth risking an interception returned for a TD.

2) Most ball carriers don't run out of bounds unless he is trying to stop the clock, if he does, we call that being a pussy.

3)I don't really understand this one because it usually does happen and if it doesn't its just because the center doesn't see it or is focused on the snap count.

4)This has slowly been happening more and I generally agree with you, but not on 4th and longs or near the teams own endzone

5) Good point, I don't understand why teams switched to trying to have their team chase down a punt near the goal line, but punt returns are very exciting so I don't complain.

6)This is happening more, but it has the possibility of messing up your offense

7)I kinda like this idea but I don't think it would work in football as well because more than half the offense are 10-20 yards behind the play while most of the defense is chasing near the ball.

8)You run to set up the pass and keep the defense honest and wear them down. Passing every down would be setting your self up for multiple picks every game.

9)This makes no sense. The only plays designed to score TDs are 40-50 yard passes, and you can't just throw bombs all game and hope 3 of them connect... Every other play is designed to get yardage and move your team down field in order to get in scoring position.

10) I really like this idea minus the possible brawls for balls but I would still be in favor.

11) This whole point is flawed because it is based on the idea that the game is somehow archaic and the coaches who spend hours and hours and hours watching tape, making plays, and forming game plans are lazy.

Some of these points were really cool ideas and others were just misinformed ranting