10. Tennis Scoring – Look, I love this sport. To watch and to play. But a system in which zero is Love and the points in a game are counted by 15, 30 and then 40 and then “deuce” is just insane. From now on: To win a game in tennis you have to win four points – counted 1-2-3-4 – and you have to win by two. Sorry, Love is overrated.
9. Designated Hitter – A baseball game without pitchers hitting is like a steak dinner, with no sides. Just meat, no strategy. No reason pitchers can’t spend one of their four off days between starts working on at least being a .237 hitter. Imagine if every time Vince Carter had a pass thrown to him a substitute ran off the bench and took the shot for him? From now on: AL plays by the same rules as the NL. If you’re not in good enough physical condition to play in the field, get your ass in shape. Right, Albert Pujols?
8. Draft Order – Much ado about our government’s so-called “socialism” with the haves propping up the have-nots. Why do we stand for it in sports? The spoils of success should include a higher draft pick, not a lower one. In our existing system, we’re actually rewarding failure. As a kid it’s always make-it-take-it and “losers walk,” not vice-versa. From now on: A championship in a pro league comes with a trophy, a parade and next year’s No. 1 draft pick. Screw you, parity.
7. Points For a Loss – C’mon hockey. You know better. Under your rules NBA and NFL teams would get 1/3rd of a win for merely being tied after regulation. From now on: Hockey has a winner every night. If overtimes take too long, see and implement No. 2.
6. Illegal Contact – Yeah, I get it. A defensive back shouldn’t significantly impede the progress of a receiver in the secondary. But the problem is the punishment is too penal. A 5-yard penalty should never equal an automatic first down. From now on: Illegal contact/interference penalties are neither spot fouls nor automatic first downs. Take the spot of the penalty, get the number of yards the foul occurred from the line of scrimmage and then half that total. There’s your penalty yardage.
5. Extra Points – It’s the most automatic, predictable and mundane play in all of sports. A team drives 80 yards with an efficient, rugged combo of running, passing, blocking and shrewd play-calling. Then, with all the ease of pulling the level on your recliner, a guy who’s rarely on the field comes out and non-chalantly scores 1/6th as many points as the preceding drive. From now on: Football teams must go for two points after every touchdown. And while we’re at it, how about exterminating kickers altogether. Teams have four downs to make 10 yards or else they give the ball to the defense. Sorry, FOOTball is overrated.
4. Baseball Managers in Uniforms – Imagine how silly it would look for Rick Carlisle to be suited up in shorts or Jason Garrett to be wearing a helmet during games. From now on: Managers must wear at least business casual and, oh, they’re also strictly prohibited from running onto the field to stop play while haplessly arguing a judgment call. And, as for pitching changes, players run off the field to hear the coach in the dugout, not vice-versa. Like in football and basketball. Duh.
3. Possession Arrow – Not sure why we got rid of jump balls in the first place, but whatever the reason it was a hideous one. Taking turns getting awarded the ball on jump balls is short-sighted, shallow and unfair. Wichita State was down three late to Louisville Saturday when a tie ball occurred and, because the arrow pointed to the Cardinals, never got a chance to tie the game. If human refs can’t handle tossing a ball straight up 5 feet, then we need better refs. From now on: Tie balls = Jump balls. And get to work pronto on a mechanical gizmo that hovers over courts and perfectly drops basketballs in the middle of the two contesting players.
2. Offsides – Hear me out soccer and hockey. One of the most exciting plays in sports is the football bomb to an open receiver and the basketball breakaway dunk behind the defense. In hockey you can’t be in the offensive zone before the puck and in soccer you can’t receive a pass unless a defender is at least even with you. Imagine, no more Tony Romo deep passes to Dez Bryant – unless he’s covered. And LeBron James has to slow down and wait for his point guard to catch up on a fast break. From now on: Soccer and hockey players can accept a pass whenever and wherever they want. I know, what a concept.
1. Coin Flip – We’ve got instant replay and yellow lines and safer helmets and DVRs and a relatively sophisticated, advanced society. But we can’t come up with anything better to break a tie than something we resorted to as 6-year-olds? Coins should not play a part in sports. Ever. In baseball the home team bats last. In basketball it’s a jump ball. But in football it’s just left to chance … to “heads” or “tails”? From now on: The home team gets the choice as to whether it wants the ball first. And, in overtime, the team with the most yards in that particular game gets the ball first. Until we change coins out of sports, we’re all just Neanderthals watching an archaic hobby.