Ramble on the roof: Dumb rules

Torrin Thatcher

To get more viewers, networks want to make their presentation of the game appealing. To do this, they should employ people who are interesting to listen to, and not just a name – in the dictionary, look under Collinsworth, Cris. Another route to make games more appealing would be to hire pretty blondes to hold a microphone and clipboard … oh wait, they do that.
While I’m at it, not allowing a basketball player to stay in the key on defense for three seconds is a dumb rule. When the NBA, years ago, allowed teams to run zone defenses, it made the stipulation that defenders could not plant themselves near the hoop, much like how an offensive player cannot be in the key for five seconds.
I’m not going to argue the way this rule affected strategies on defense, but I am going to comment how it affects the game’s flow. How often have you watched an NBA game and heard the whistle blow for whatever reason? If it was for an infraction of this rule, the team received a warning, and then every time after that would be accessed a technical foul.
This just slows the game down. On the flip side, college basketball allows defensive players to stay as long as they want in the key.
A coach who uses the zone defense just won career game number 800 this past week – that’s Jim Boeheim of Syracuse. Could this difference be one of the many reasons why college basketball is more compelling than the NBA? Sure, though it’s one of many.
I like instant replay in all sports. We’ve seen it implemented in the NFL, NBA, college football, tennis, hockey and pro baseball. There have been some bumps along the way, but it is becoming the norm to have cameras covering every inch of the area of play to ensure that correct calls are being made.
Most notable to me was the amount of missed calls in the MLB playoffs: Two guys being tagged off the base and a short-hop to Ryan Howard to name just a few. I’ve listened to radio guys complaining that being able to review every play will slow the pace of the game, but I would rather have the calls be correct.
One of the biggest blown calls in my lifetime was Terrell Owens’ “The Catch II” against the Packers in the 1998 playoffs. People forget that earlier that quarter Jerry Rice fumbled the ball, but since there was no replay, he was called down and the 49ers retained possession of the ball. If replay had been implemented that many years ago, things could be different. Think of all the other plays in history that could have gone a different way.
That’s all for this week, folks. I was thinking about discussing the benefits of not having a salary cap in baseball, but we all saw the Yankees win their 27th ring last week, so this might not be the best time. Now that school is wrapping up, I am attempting to cut back on my sports viewing, but with the NFL playing on Thursdays, my week gets pretty crammed.