Sunday, July 4, 2010
Passion has 10,000+ comments on a post. Apathy has an American audience quickly returning to any sport besides soccer. The Hand of God met the Foot of Friedrich, and now Argentina is under security watch for the trip home. Our squad? A collective soccer mom mentality gave them a hug and took them out for ice cream, talking about how “They did their best.” (Cue Sean Connery on doing your best.) So in lieu of another deep psycho-analysis of what the American game can do to fix itself, here’s a list of ideas to spice it up and/or change the dynamic of the sport. If not at least Americanize things a tad. Agree, disagree, I could care less because it’s part tongue in cheek as I bask in the glory of a distraught Maradona.
1) Start the game with penalty kicks. Gets everyone pumped. And, starting regulation play being down or up a goal would greatly affect the dynamic of the game from that point forward.
2) Add Instant replay. While FIFA is looking at this again, this is a no-brainer. At the very least, any foul leading to a penalty kick or disputed offside call subsequently leading to a goal. In a sport where every goal matters and a tournament where so many obvious ones were missed, this is what? A. No. Brainer.
3) 12 refs. Okay, maybe not 12, BUT MORE THAN ONE ON THE FIELD AT A TIME.
4) Vuvuzela ban. The noise is cute. Occasionally. At 4th of July parades. Only.
5) Put the U.K. announcer and the Goal Guy together. When’s the last time you heard an announcer say “cheeky” about a goal. Martin brings it every play. (Let him even call NFL games.) While America loves it’s trademark deliveries from announcers, a little British flair would be a welcome change alongside Andrés calling the entire game in Spanish, except for that one moment when...
6) Cheerleaders. Hot chicks in orange dresses works for beer, why not the viewing public. (Okay, women can have their topless ball guys.)
7) Goalies come out and play. The move where the U.S. pulled Tim Howard out to play as another striker was risky but in effect made it like a power play. (Normally, goalies can play anywhere they want, but lose their goalie superpowers outside the box.) Each half though, why not require goalies to come out and play as a forward for two minutes or so.
8) A game clock. Linemen already alert the ref when the ball goes out; they could do it here to stop play. Would cut down on stalling tactics as well as eliminate the arbitrary discretion of the ref as to how much time is left.
9) Let viewers control camera views. This could change not just how soccer is covered, but all sports. Imagine being able to select the camera view(s) you want, just like a video game. At the risk of getting all consumer preachy, *conversation* agents talk about an empowered consumer, and well, part of that isn’t just user-gen contests on YouTube. At some point this needs to include controlling how our entertainment is displayed to us. Currently, all coverage of live sports means viewers are at the mercy of producers who determine which shots you see. This is an attempt to create *drama* during the game. Most people are okay with this because, well, they don’t expect that they’d have to *work* at watching TV. I think there’s a few out there though who wouldn’t mind playing producer on the fly. Relax, there’ll still be cheeky announcers for the actual play by play.
10) Make goals worth more points. Is a touchdown one point? No, the extra point is. Change the perception that it’s a low-scoring game. Make soccer goals equal six points with a chance at an extra point attempt from the PK spot. Goals outside the 18 are worth an extra 3, and so on.
See you in 2014. What, you think I’m going back to MLS?
Posted 4:30 PM