Lately, quite a few professional leagues have decided to switch things up and change how their games operate or are played. It does make for interesting competition but could leave some folks confused.
The NHL has decided to take it to the schoolyard to decide the teams for the All Star Game (which is being held this weekend in Raleigh). Both the fans and the league decided on a pool of players. This group of 54 players decided upon two captains that will pick who will join their squad. This “draft” will be held on January 28. The NHL ensures that every team will be represented in either the All-Star Game or SuperSkills competition. It seems to be an experiment to keep things interesting and the fans watching. But I think it’s quite possible that someone could get their feelings hurt. We all know no one likes to be picked last. Plus, these guys are professionals, not since being truly drafted have they had to wait for someone to decide if they are worthy. I might just watch this.
As we have seen the past couple of years, the NFL likes to change their rules, leaving the players, coaches, and fans scratching their heads sometimes. The most recent change that went into effect was the playoff overtime rule. Now having the first possession of the ball in overtime and scoring does not mean a win. The new rules allow both teams to have possession of the ball unless the team with first possession scores a touchdown. If a field goal is made in the initial possession, the opposing team gets a chance to score. If that team has a touchdown it is the winner, if they tie by also getting a field goal the next score determines the game. Confused yet? This rule change has led to coaches having to reconfigure their plays and approach should an overtime happen, which hasn’t as of yet. I don’t even want to think about all the different scenarios this requires to be evaluated and re-evaluated and that’s if, and only if, overtime occurs. Now teams put all this extra manpower and thought processing on a possibility…really NFL, really?
Now on to NASCAR which I know you all love. Drivers must now select which championship series they wish to compete for out of three: Sprint Cup, Nationwide, or Camping World Truck Series. The drivers can participate in the different series but can only accumulate points for one. Apparently NASCAR officials are tired of “double dipping.” The last 5 winners in the Nationwide Series have been full-time Sprint Cup drivers. [Alba says NASCAR is trying to keep Jimmy Johnson from winning again.] Also rumored to being revamped is the point system. It is believed that it will be awarded based on rank at each race’s finish, 43 points to the winner then one point less for each place subsequent, down to 1 point to last place. So that’s not a huge deal except that NASCAR officials are still working this all out and the first race is in four weeks. Get it together!
The biggest aspect of all these things is popularity, i.e. fans. For the NHL it’s another opportunity to get fans to be engaged and watch. For the NFL (they’ll say it’s about fairness) it gives fans a chance to think their team has one in overtime even if they lose the coin toss. And NASCAR knows its popularity is seeing a dip and they are doing what they can to get it back. I wonder what will be next.