Posts Tagged ‘cfl’

The Sports Revolution: And-One Penalties

PI's just like a bench press for Ed.Let me set the scene for you: A quarterback launches a long pass down the sideline toward an emergingly open receiver. The defensive back, sensing what is about to occur, prevents a completion through less than legal means. And yet, even while a flag is being thrown, the receiver makes a tremendous catch anyway. The penalty is declined.

Let me reset the scene for you: After the flag is thrown and the catch is made, our referee announces the penalty while his assistants march off additional yardage. How much exactly? Why, the amount gained on the play, to be precise.

That’s right: Football needs its and-one. A catch made in spite of pass interference shouldn’t render the interference irrelevant. The same penalty should be meted out regardless of the completion of the pass, and thus a 20-yard pass despite PI should become a 40-yard gain.

Pierre has argued this point before, in regards to that officiating shambles of an indoor winter sport. While watching my beloved Ligue canadienne de football this autumn, it has struck me that North American football does an even more piteous job acknowledging degree of difficulty than its indoor companion. Penalties that do not alter the final result of a play are simply declined—overlooked, ignored, erased from the annals of the postgame almanacs.

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Monday Medley

What we read on our 48-hour sabbatical from MSNBC…

The Sports Revolution: A Canadian Overtime

Let me set the scene for you: At the end of regulation, the Saints and Colts are tied at 48 in what has already been proclaimed the Greatest Sporting Event in the History of the West. In overtime, however, whoever wins the coin toss unimpressively moves 35 yards down the field and anticlimactically kicks a championship-winning field goal. Its status as GSEHW is quickly revoked and handed back, somewhat perplexingly, to the Toronto Blue Jays’ 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers from June 17, 1995.

Let me reset the scene for you: At the end of regulation, the Saints and Colts are tied at 48 in what has already been proclaimed the Greatest Sporting Event in the History of the West. The drama doesn’t cease there but rather builds to an astonishing Wagnerian crescendo in overtime, where one of the teams finally crosses the goal line to claim the Lombardi Trophy. The game’s status as GSEHW is not only confirmed but changed slightly, with “West” being replaced by “World.” This is possible because, finally and logically, we have changed the rules that govern overtime in the National Football League.

There is no secret that overtime in the NFL is broken. The team that wins the coin toss wins an alarming amount of the time—close to 60 percent since 2000. Despite a prominent countryman of mine’s firm belief that chance is the only reasonable divinity (Tim’s favorite, Camus, although I doubt he understands the complexity of The Fall) or a not-so-prominent co-blogger of mine’s own investigation into the morality of the coin toss, the outcome of football games should not rest on the flick of a referee’s finger.

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