What is your favorite sport: playing or watching? Which game do you find most compelling? The strategy? The uniforms? The story?
As much as you love it, are there things that irritate you about the game as it’s currently played? Are the games too long? Rules too confusing? Are there too many or too few points? Doesn’t the game adapt to these modern times and a new generation of fans?
What ideas do you have to make your favorite sport even more fun, exciting or successful?
In “Sports are on pause. It’s time to reboot.» The Times Sports office looks back on the health of professional sport and offers a plethora of ideas to improve it. Here are excerpts from their recommendations for baseball, football, basketball and soccer:
Speed up the game, but for real.
Eliminate visits to the mound. Reduce warm-up throws. Maintain two-minute intervals between rounds. Keep hitters in the box and pitchers on the mound.
If you own a team that finishes last in the division three years in a row, you and your family need to opt out entirely.
But the team remains there.
Encourage bat flips.
There’s nothing in the rulebook that prohibits bat flips and punches – just your grandfather’s old-fashioned sense of decorum.
In professional basketball
You wouldn’t want to cut the climax of a movie, so why keep doing it during a big game?
More than in other major sports, the drama in the NBA is mostly in the final two minutes – a duration that can take 20 minutes in real time. The NBA is solving this problem, slowly, by limiting late timeouts. But let the cameras roll and the audience in the arena, without commercials.
What’s more exciting than a 3-point shot? How about a 4 point?
Players like Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry have stretched the court and the imagination by being efficient scorers beyond 30 feet. Reward them.
Make “posterize” more than a metaphor.
The memorably dunked players must be transformed into real posters, which will be distributed to children at the next match.
In the NFL
Take helmet technology and brain damage seriously.
Every shot to (and from) the head should be penalized – even “accidental” shots – until they are rare. And it’s high time that the NFL, which acknowledges the harmful effects of gaming on the brain, fully invests in a reinvention of the moonshot helmet. The hard shell was designed decades ago to prevent skull fractures, not concussions. Opt for a whole marshmallow?
Stop letting men’s football rule women’s football.
There is no reason why women’s football, a sport that is booming in the 21st century, should adopt structures and rules created by men in the Victorian era. Do you want to change some rules? Go for it. Do you want to have continental superleagues, as is the case in European basketball and the NBA? Go there too. Then create a Global Club Championship for the top teams in each league.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
What is your reaction to the article and its many recommendations – ranging from the creative and daring to the practical and silly? What improvement proposed by the Times authors would you most like to see implemented? Which of the proposed changes do you disagree with and think could harm the game? Explain why.
Before you make your own bold proposals, first tell us your favorite sport to play or watch. What attracts you to the game? Which aspects do you find most compelling?
Next, diagnose your favorite sport: what, if any, are the game’s weaknesses in its current form? Do you see any obstacles to its success and long-term health? For example, is it too long? Too slow? Not enough points? Too many points? Do you need too many people or too much equipment to play? Is it too dangerous or too expensive? Does this put off young fans?
Now tell us how you would change your favorite sport: what bold, crazy or even fanciful changes would you propose? Share at least two ideas and explain why you think they will improve the sport.
Finally, how difficult would it be to implement your changes? What could be the downsides or unintended consequences of your game modifications? How might purists or other critics react to your proposals? What would you say to persuade them to join your side?