Whoa hey, what a Christmas break it was. I traveled to Alabama where it was somehow almost 80 degrees and slept a total of roughly 12 hours over the three days, fun times! Really, it was fun though.
All the lack of sleeping gave me some time to reflect on random sports thoughts that I believe to be true.
League’s don’t outright rig games/outcomes, but they do try to nudge things how they want them
I don’t think any league outright says, “This team needs to win, make it happen no matter what,” except for that time they rigged the Lakers/Kings series in the Western Conference Finals, but I do think they favor the big name teams when it comes to 50/50 calls and close plays.
Take the 2016 NBA Finals, I don’t think it was rigged, but I will go to my grave thinking that the NBA did all it could to slightly favor the Cavaliers after Golden state took at 3-1 lead. The people that run the NBA aren’t dummies, and they wanted to get as many games as possible out of its two biggest teams and star players. So they did that by suspending Draymond Green, then calling phantom fouls in Game 6.
Look at some of those, he literally doesn’t touch anyone on two of them.
It’s the same in the NFL, where it seems like the Cowboys, Packers, Patriots or Steelers get every questionable call in their favor. The NFL knows what teams move the needle when it comes to casual fans, and it isn’t the Lions, Bills, Browns or Bengals.
About the only league that doesn’t, or it very bad at it, is the NHL, who is too dumb to try and rig it so the Blackhawks and Penguins meet in the Stanley Cup Final, thinking that people will flock to the Blue Jackets and Predators. Even though that would be a fun matchup, the NHL would be wrong in its thinking.
The on-court action in college basketball is terrible
College basketball already had a problem with talent due to 300+ schools all claiming they are Division 1, but then they made rules to ban handchecks and starting calling fouls more frequently and the product is nearly unwatchable.
College hoops still has a ton of charm in the crazy student sections, old arenas, the thrill of a one-and-done tournament, but if you were to play the college game in the sterile environment of the NBA and just focused on the product, nobody would watch.
I went to a small-ish school, and have watched a handful of their 12 games this year, on at least two occasions I tweeted out that I couldnt’ remember a down-and-back, down-and-back sequence without at least one foul being called.
Then on top of that, most of the players can’t shoot and just simply rely on being a great athlete to get to the rim or get tons of fouls called and rack up free throws.
Add in all the TV timeouts to those fouls and you get a product that has almost no flow and makes for rough watching. But damn if it still doesn’t suck you in come March.
Teams need to stop worrying about image and just say things straight
This is mostly in regards to teams firing coaches, then turning around and saying something along the lines of, “We relieved him or his duties,” or, “We wanted to go in a new direction.”
Bullshit, just say what it is, you fired the guy/girl. Don’t church it up to make your organization seem compassionate, be real. If you or I is fired from a job, they don’t say, “We are relieving you of your duties,” they say we’re fired.
And there’s a million other things that fall under this umbrella of teams doing all they can to protect their image and avoid backlash, but this one bothers me most.
The NHL/hockey is the best sport to watch in person
The game flows, there’s plenty of hitting, few TV timeouts, quick line changes and face-offs after whistles, the whole thing moves and is done in a tidy two-and-a-half hours.
Plus, you don’t get a feel for how fast the players are and just how hard they’re hitting until you take in a game in person. Do it if you haven’t.
Here’s the four major sports, in order of how they rank in person:
- NHL, see above
- Baseball/MLB, you can drink and chat and just relax, it’s almost like being at home
- NBA/College hoops, Could be No. 2, but too many fouls ruins the flow
- Literally any other sport
- NFL, you’re better off watching at home where there’s free food and drink, closer bathrooms and a 99% fewer chance of some drunk wanting to fight you because you root for the wrong team.
Soccer is perfectly fine, stop hating on it
It’s a good sport that flows well, features plenty of athleticism and best of all, runs on time so you know when it’s going to end.
Yes, there is too much diving and yes, the USA and MLS stinks when it comes to the men’s game, but when you watch the best club teams or international teams, it’s akin to hockey on grass, just tons of fun to see the way they pass and set up plays.
And if you say, “I won’t let my kids play it!” Well that’s your fault, you should all get your kids out of the house and let them run around for an hour and half, even if it’s only to wear them out for a bit.
Stop comparing military and sports
One fights for our country and could die just by walking outside. The other is a fucking game that you people get paid to play. Not only that, it’s just lazy and cliche calling some sporting event a “war” or a “battle.”