With all of the hubbub (what's a hubbub, anyway?) surrounding World Cup officiating blunders -and there was a new controversy practically every other day -it made me think of a couple of simple things I would change if I were the king of soccer for a day.
First thing I would do is dissolve the World Cup and decree that soccer shall never again be played on this planet. I would then put all of the soccer balls in the world on a rocket ship and send said rocket ship into the sun. Many people do like the game, I'm just not one of them.
Sure, Landon Donovan's game-winning goal against Algeria was exciting. It was the 90-plus minutes of nil-nil mind-numbing boredom before that I can do without.
Soccer is a game any kid can play if they can at least put one foot in front of the other, but that's neither here nor there. So in all seriousness, here are two changes that might actually entice me into watching some fútbol. Doubtful, but maybe:
No. 1 - Replay
It seems utterly ridiculous to me we don't use the technology we have (Major League Baseball, this means you, too).
Why should games be decided by the mistake (or flat out bias as it sometimes seemed in the World Cup) of an official when we all see a replay and know the call was butchered within 10 seconds?
It makes your sport a joke when games aren't decided by the players on the field.
No. 2 -So long, floppers
You know what else makes your game a joke? Watching guys act like they have just been blasted in the face by a shotgun when they weren't even touched to try and get an opponent yellow carded.
And it's not just soccer. See NBA: Vlade Divac, Manu Ginóbili, Anderson Varejao and Andres Nocioni.
Hmmm, I see a pattern here. Maybe it's a Euro thing.
Case in point, here is a quote from Phil Jackson about fining floppers that was published in a 2008 story in the Washington Post:
"It's tough to just relegate that to something that can be a monetary fine," Jackson said. "I do agree that it has come to a rather weird state in our game, where it's getting to look more and more like European soccer." Noting that many practitioners are from Europe, Jackson added: "I think that if you fine them in euros, you'd find out that it would really end quickly."
Either way, flopping is cowardly and cheap, and if you're going to act like you just got punched in the face to get your opponent penalized, then said opponent should be allowed to meet you after the game to deliver the face punching he was penalized for, but never actually did.
So the NBA cracked down on players who go too far in selling a foul.
How do they determine if someone flopped?
Boom. It's that simple. Make it happen, and make your fans happy. Give us true outcomes and games we can believe in, or be stubborn and remain a joke. As I said, it's that simple.
Contact Sports Editor Shaun T. Cox at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.