Put me in coach: Rules of the Game

When I attended the IMCA Stockcar races this past weekend (see C1), I was informed of a very odd rule that, to my knowledge, doesn’t exist in any other racing league. In the rule book, there is a rule called the claim rule. For example, since Brady Weinman took home the victory, say the guy who finished last didn’t like Weinman and decided he wanted to claim his engine. Yes, that’s right, the claim rule allows for a racer’s engine to be taken out of the car if another racer feels that Weinman had an unfair advantage because of an engine, Weinman’s engine could be taken right out of his vehicle that night and a fine as well as a suspension would be assessed. Now there are a number of checks that the engine must go through in order for the claim to be valid, but the fact of the matter is that these cars are checked prior to the race. Any and all red flags would be raised before the car drives onto the track. This is one rule in a great sport that needs to be abolished. Following, I will go through some of the more talked about rules and procedures in all of sports at various levels. At the end of the synopsis, I will either vote to keep it or lose it. College Football overtime: In September of 2012, Bob Stoops released his opinion saying he feels that the starting position for overtime needs to be moved back from the opponent’s 25-yard-line to the 45-yard-line. To anchor his point, Stoops brought up a game in 1998 in which he lost to Tennessee in large part because his kicker missed the field goal in overtime after driving most of the way toward the endzone. The Volunteers took over and their offensive drive stalled, but their kicker made the 41-yard field goal and would go on to win the National Championship. Here’s the thing, I think Bob Stoops is being a bitter man about a game that happened 14 years prior to him making the comment. The college football overtime breeds excitment and has made for some exciting finishes over the years. Let’s take the 2003 National Championship game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State managed to overcome an 11.5 point spread against them and beat a very talented (albeit Willis McGahee-less for most of the game) Miami team in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State controlled the action for most of the game until Miami’s depth brought them back late and were able to kick a field goal to force the game into overtime. Miami got the ball first in the first overtime (it is critical to play defense first in college football overtime, so you know what your offense will need to get in order to tie or win the game) and scored on a pass from Ken Dorsey to Kellen Winslow to put the Canes up 24-17. Miami then forced Ohio State into a 4th and 3 on the five-yard-line before a controversial pass interference call on the Hurricanes gave Ohio State new life. They responded with a quarterback sneak from Craig Crenzel into the endzone, tying the game at 24-24 and forcing a 2nd overtime period. Ohio State started with the ball in the 2nd overtime and scored again on a five-yard touchdown run from Maurice Clarett to go up 31-24. On Miami’s next possession, the Buckeyes defense held Miami as they were on the one-yard-line and a pass from Dorsey couldn’t find the hands of a reciever and Ohio State ended Miami’s era. It’s games like this that show why the college football overtime needs to stay the way it is. Get over it Stoops. Verdict: Keep it.Pro Football Overtime: Moving to the pro game, we get a different set of rules for overtime. The main complaint I hear with the NFL overtime is the fact that the game can be decided on a coin toss. In the past this may have been true, but the NFL changed its rules last season in a way that sort of resembles the college game. If the team that takes the ball first and scores a touchdown, the game is over. If that same team scores a field goal, the opposing team gets a chance to win the game with a touchdown or keep the game going with a field goal of their own. Tim Tebow’s seemingly only good pass of his NFL career so far came when he hooked up with Demaryius Thomas to eliminate the Pittsburgh Steelers from the wildcard round of the 2012 playoffs is a showcase for gutwrenching excitement. Before the rule change, I might have said toss this format, but with the new rules in place, it’s a keeper.Verdict: Keep itScoring/Judging in Boxing Matches: I’ll admit I’m not really a fan of boxing as it is, but I have seen and heard of plenty of fights coming down to a judges decision and that decision being overwhelmingly ridiculous. As far as I’m concerened, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is way more fun to watch because most of the time they fight until somebody gets knocked out cold. It’s so much more entertaining. Boxing should learn from their more popular studly cousin and just have the opponents fight until one gets knocked out or can’t take it anymore. Verdict: Lose it Football’s Ground Cause rule: As it stands, a football player in the college or pro game isn’t charged with a fumble if it is caused by the player hitting the ground as opposed to another player jarring it loose or stripping it out of his hands. Sure, my favorite teams have been saved by this rule many times, but the more I think about it and the closer I look it really doesn’t make sense. The ground, just like the defensive players, are a part of the game just as much as the ground they play it on. I say if the ground causes the fumble- free ball. Verdict: Lose it The Chris Weber Rule, AKA getting a technical foul for calling timeouts you don’t have: In the 1993 national championship game against North Carolina, Weber called timeout with his team down by two and 11 seconds left. The only problem was that Michigan didn’t have any timeouts remaining and Weber was given a technical foul. North Carolina was given two free throws and a National Championship. There are some who feel that technical fouls in that situation are too harsh. Basketball is a game that requires mental focus no matter what the situation. Since that happened, I haven’t heard of anyone repeating the same mistake. It was harsh enough for Weber and everyone else to learn from. Keep your focus people, know how many timeouts you have left. It’s really important. Verdict: Keep it