Browsing All Posts filed under »rule changes«

What we cannot reliably learn from former NFL players about the “bounty” system (or anything else)

March 7, 2012

1

It goes without saying that most of the chatter on the sports networks comes from the mouths of former players and coaches. There may typically be one journalist or “broadcaster” moderating a discussion, and occasionally there are non-player “experts” about particular subjects internal or external to the sport in question (from folks who analyze the […]

They don’t call it the “No Fun League” for nothing

January 21, 2011

2

Every professional sports league is like a social science lab experiment for approaches to government regulations. And the NFL is what the European Union would look like if the President of the European Commission could live out his technocratic dreams. Why leave a matter to the judgment, discretion, professionalism, or sportsmanship of your personnel, one […]

Embracing the Arbitrary, part 1: why arbitrary rules make sports great.

August 14, 2010

5

At the end of the previous post I promised to explore some implications of the late Professor Suits’s extraordinary clarification of the concept of a game. (And then I disappeared into work and travel for more than a week.) The intuition is that a better understanding of what makes a sport a sport will help […]

It’s a Funny Old Game. Of course: games are weird by definition

August 1, 2010

13

Legendary English striker Jimmy Greaves found opportunities every week to shake his head, smile, and note what a “funny old game” football (soccer) was. We might call that a catchphrase now. But, at least in his early years as a television pundit in the 1980s, it always seemed to come out as his most genuine, […]

Soccer vs American Sports, part 5: Does taking the hands out of play make a sport inferior?

July 31, 2010

2

During the 2002 World Cup, Allen Barra, a great American sports writer (and acclaimed reviewer of books in general) published an infamous anti-soccer rant. The target of the rant was an alleged “swarm of soccer nerds and bullies reminding us how backward and provincial we [good ol’ American sports fans] are for not appreciating soccer […]

When is a Sport not a Sport?

July 28, 2010

11

Do we need to answer the question “What is a sport?” in order to address questions about which sports are better than others, or how to improve any given sport or spectator’s experience? I suspect not. But reflecting for a moment on the different fundamental features of various sports does help us to explain why […]

Blemishes on the beautiful game, part 1: Luddite officiating and the ethics of diving

July 6, 2010

2

It’s been a terrific World Cup so far. We all have to keep our fingers crossed for the semi-finals and the finals being as intriguing as the quarters, because our individual and collective memories of the overall quality of any given World Cup lean heavily on the quality of those contests. The nil-nil draw and […]