Thursday, May 25, 2006

What's wrong with a blowout here and there?

When it comes to unintended consequences of a rule, this one has to be at or near the top of the list. Let's count the ways:

1) The idea is to avoid the embarrassment of a large loss. Admittedly, losing by a large margin is not an enjoyable experience. But ask anyone who has played or coached sports, and they will tell you that it is a far greater embarrassment to play another team and have them reach the point where they stop competing out of pity. That's exactly what this rule forces the winning teams to do-- stop playing football. Out of fear of finishing the game by actually playing football and scoring too many points, the other team has to mail it in early or fear punishment.

2) What if the team getting blown out gets upset and, knowing the law, decides to throw the rest of the game so that the score differential ends up greater than 50? How can you punish the winning team in this instance? I suppose the winning team could recognize this and try themselves to throw the game harder, but then we're reduced to a competition of losing. (Not unlike the South Park episode where every Little League team is trying to lose so they don't have to play baseball for the rest of the summer.)

3) A buddy of mine mentioned this one to me-- what about the backup players? The article mentions that there is a fear of cutting into their playing time, but I'm not sure if that would necessarily be true. What it does do is prevent the backup players from playing as hard as they can and running the score beyond 50 points. So imagine the role of the backup football player now: I only get into the game when the score is lopsided, and I want to play more, but I can't fully prove myself on the field because if I play too hard I'll end up suspending the person who decides how much I play in the first place. Tough job, that of the backup high school football player in Connecticut.

1 comment:

Nog said...

This post brings some of Milton Freedmans writings about corporate donations. If your a corporation that makes a killing. they want to make you pay more taxes. You have to try to lose a bit.