At this point, I think the civilized world is united behind the belief that dictatorships are bad. I’m no expert on international politics, but the layman’s view of it seems to show democracy with a great deal of momentum behind it, and the world’s premier despots without the same power they used to.
Just compare Stalin’s mustache to Kim Jong Un’s hair. It’s not a fair fight.
That said, I’d like to try my hand at despotism. At least in sports.
Successful though they are, there has never been a greater need for a Sports Czar than there is right now – to oversee the entire athletic world and rule on what is and is not acceptable.
If it were me, first, I’d fix the NFL, which with replay and rule change after rule change, has become a miserable product – a bad watch, more about penalties than about play. Then, I’d take my talents to the NBA and make traveling a thing again. Third, I’d either fix boxing or relegate the 76ers to the D-League, and somewhere down the line, I’d set my sights on the major sports’ All-Star weekends, and figure out a way to fix them – the way the NHL already has.
This weekend, the NHL will introduce a new format, a 3-on-3 tournament – capitalizing on the best change the league has made since it returned from it’s lost season. They looked at their soft, sad All-Star game and made the best change they could make.
They made a change, and the other leagues should follow:
NBA: No one wants to watch a 163-158 basketball game (Read: No one in their right mind wants to watch a 163-158 basketball game), so let’s not have a game. At least not a 5-on-5 game, or even a 3-on-3 game. The answer for the NBA is simple. If I was the Sports Czar, the All-Star weekend would become a 1-on-1 tournament. Half court. Game to 11. Make it-take it. Have to bring the ball out beyond the 3-point line.
Because who wouldn’t watch that?
LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant 1-on-1. Steph Curry vs. Dwight Howard. James Harden vs. Blake Griffin.
As a 5-on-5 game with somehow less defense than is normally played in the NBA, the league’s All-Star-Weekend can’t be stomached. As a 1-on-1 tournament, it couldn’t be missed.
NFL: Right now, the NFL All-Star game is caught in a no man’s land between breezy showcase for skill position players and real, you know, actual football. To fix it, as Sports Czar, I’d pick one end of the spectrum and run with it. Either take the pads off, clear the sidelines and offensive lines, and have quarterbacks drawing up plays on their shirts and d-linemen counting to “Seven Mississippi,” or throw so much money at the winning team that the game becomes real, actual football.
MLB: Simply Put? Bring back steroids. This was awesome.
Also, while home field advantage in the World Series being decided by the winner of the MLB All-Star game is, I think we can all agree, absurd, it’s the only thing that makes the game worth watching. So as Sports Czar, I’d beat back the angry sportswriters and, silly as it is, keep things the way they are.
But mostly the steroid thing.
Author: Joe Bianchino
Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at Joe@noticketsports.com.