Day 82 of 96 – The Soccer Part 3: See you in hell, dinner plate.

11 Dec

So here’s the final part of my soccer rant. Somethings are good, some are bad, but all are listed below.

Good – relegation / promotion – the lowest-ranking teams in the various soccer leagues get demoted to the second division at the end of the season. This makes end-of-season games actually interesting because there’s something at stake.

Good – Once-per week league games – look no further than the success the NFL has achieved using this same format. Dedicating an entire day of the week to play the majority of your games makes an event of that day. Fans can get into a routine and routines are hard to break.

Good – A reasonable number of games per season – hockey, baseball, and basketball can be entertaining to watch but the games are meaningless because there are too many of them. Even they playoff games are all best-of-seven and if a team is up three games to one, no one ends up watching because the result is almost a forgone conclusion.

Good – Fixed-duration games – this makes television broadcasting very straightforward and it allows you to plan your day with some degree of certainty. As a longtime Simpsons and X-Files watcher, I used to hate when the NFL games would run long, and they always did.

Bad – Lack of a draft – there are essentially about seven soccer teams Milan, Manchester, Madrid, Munich, Barcelona, and two others that have all the money. They win all the time because they have the cash to buy all of the young talent. This is sooo boring. But at the same time it does make it possible for one to cheer for them to lose.

Bad – Lack of a salary cap or any sort of revenue sharing – same as the previous example. I heard once that if any of the governing bodies tries to implement anything sort of finance-limiting playing-field-leveling regulations that the big seven teams would simply break away and form their own league. If that’s true: what a bunch of douche bags.

Good – Inter-league games on weekdays – more soccer at a semi-regular interval is great for the people who love the sport. Same goes for the qualifying games for the national teams. North American has nothing like this. I think this might be my favorite thing about soccer.

Good – Single-game playoffs – in hockey, baseball, and basketball, game seven is the most exciting thing possible. To their credit, soccer has this all the time. Single-game elimination is just awesome.

Bad – The cheating and the unwillingness / inability to get rid of the cheating – this is self-explanatory. Shameful.

Bad – The lack of video replay – what is this? The time of Charlemagne?

Bad – Soccer has but one ref and two linesmen – NFL football with a smaller field has seven total officiators. And video replay.

Bad – The pace of the game – players can kick the ball out of bounds at any point with no penalty. It slows the game down.

Bad – The inequality between diving and actually trying to score – the penalty for diving is almost nothing, but if the player dives “successfully” he has a much higher chance of scoring than if he’d played through. Cheating is rewarded.

Good – the behavior of the fans – they bring the energy level up and make the whole soccer-in-the-stadium experience even better.

Bad – the behavior of the fans – the hooliganism that surrounds many soccer games should embarrass anyone who associates with the sport.

Bad – the hooliganism – it doesn’t seem to embarrass anyone.

Good – the cost of the tickets – they are reasonable.

Good – anyone can play soccer – it’s cheap so that poor people can play it. Hockey is crazy expensive. Also regular-sized people:  you don’t have to be a genetic freak (like in football or basketball) to be a superstar.

Good – they play outside – helps keep the cost down for this stadiums (roofs are expensive). And the fresh air is good for everyone.

Good – Giggs getting a yellow card in the box – he deserved it this time.

Bad – I’m sure that there are some things I’ve forgotten – oh well. Now let me never write about soccer ever again.

Is there such a thing as soccer cards?

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