I Think I’ve Figured Out Why Soccer Sucks
Posted by KingShamus on July 1, 2010
Having been forced to watch some World Cup games with some deluded friends, I’ve come to a conclusion bought from hours of boredom and annoyance. The game of soccer blows because the game is fundamentally flawed. Not a small imperfection, not a troubling aspect, but an overarching problem with the basic logic of the sport.
At the highest levels of competition-the Euro leagues, the World Cup-it’s damn near impossible to score points so soccer players are forced to use phoney-baloney injuries. They do this in order to gain the advantage a favorable call by the officials gives to their teams. The game’s constrictive rules force players to become Laurence Oliviers of the pitch, wailing and gnashing teeth in order to fake out a referee.
Look at real football. Even the best defenses give up points. No defensive unit shuts out their opponent every single game, not even the exceptionally dominant 1985 Bears or the maniacally stingy 2000 Ravens. Offensive players go into each contest with a sense that the game’s rules give them a solid shot at scoring, even against truly magnificent defenses. Thus there is no need to engage in Broadway thespianship
The structure of the game gives offenses a decent chance at scoring at least some points during the course of the contest. From the rules of the sport and how they are enforced to the size of the playing field and the shape of the ball; all these things contribute to the ‘scoreability’ of football. So a host of factors such as a focused pregame preparation, a strong game plan, an inspired play by the offense, a defensive mistake or just a lucky bounce could all result in a score.
What’s more-let’s say the Raiders and the Redskins are playing and both offensive units are having a crappy day. Even if that’s the case, the defenses can still put points on the board by creating turnovers and taking them to the house. How can defensive teams accomplish this? For basically the same reasons that the offensive units of a club can expect to score during a game. The defense can also tackle an opposition player in the endzone, which results in a two-point score called a safety. What about special teams? While a little more rare, teams can run kickoffs and punts back for scores. Special teams points can also come off blocked punts, blocked field goals, onside kicks or safeties.
In short, there so many possible ways to score points in football that scoreless ties…the cousin-kissing curse of Soccer…are almost unheard of.
Do players in football try to job the officials? Of course they do. Players will take a flop now and again. But it is a startlingly rare sight for a football player to fake an injury in order to get the ref to blow the whistle for the player’s side. It’s even more rare to see a player fake an injury, then get up and walk back into the game like nothing happened.
The other thing to realize is that the play-acting that goes on in real football only wins a player a small game-time advantage in comparison to soccer. Let’s look at a best case scenario. Imagine the Jets and the Dolphins are playing. A Dolphins wide receiver takes a dive on a pass and the referee calls a pass interference penalty on the Jet defender, giving the offense a first down and the ball on the 1 yard line. First of all, there is no guarantee that the Miami offense will score a touchdown or a field goal in this scenario. Goal line stands are rare, but not impossible. A blocked field goal is entirely possible too.
But let’s say the Dolphins punch in a touchdown in that scenario. Because football’s rules don’t choke the possibility of scoring into near non-existence, there is nothing that says the Jets can’t march right down the field and score a touchdown of their own. Hell, the very next play will see the Dolphins kick off to the Jets, which means the Jets could take the kickoff all the way back for a score.
Compare the football situation described above to the rough equivalent in soccer. Germany is playing Portugal. A German striker gets brushed by a Portuguese defender and of course fakes a massive injury to gain a penalty kick right on the doorstep of the goal. Now, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that the German player will score a goal here. But the chances of him scoring a goal on a penalty kick is far greater than in almost any other play available to him in soccer. Not a corner kick, a set play, nada. Furthermore, there is a far greater chance that the striker will score in this situation than in football’s equivalent scenario.
The possibilities for scoring that exist in football simply are not available in soccer. Goals are so hard to come by and thus so precious that teams have to find ‘extracurricular’ ways of gaining an advantage over their opponents. It simply isn’t enough to have great conditioning, awesome ball handling skills, top-notch passing and deadly accurate kicking aim. Superior game planning? Spectacular set plays? Savvy coaching? None of these things gain teams a demonstrable advantage. Go back to the imaginary Portugal versus Germany game. The Portuguese could have better players, better coaching, better skills, better everything over the Germans. There’s still far too much of a possibility that Germany will be able to fight off Portugal’s advantages and scratch out a scoreless tie.
This is not to say that soccer cannot be rehabilitated. It could be a very exciting sport if given a makeover. But several things would have to occur. The act of diving would have to be stopped. Heavy penalties would have to be put into place to stop players from faking injuries. At the same time, the fundamental reason for the diving-the difficulty of scoring-would have to be addressed. One possibility is to simply make the goals bigger. Expand the goals by a foot on each side and set the crossbar two feet higher. That would make it much easier for offenses to get the ball into the net. Other fixes could be proposed as well.
But something should be done to address the game’s major weakness. Or not. Because really, it is only soccer. It’s not like a real sport…like curling.
By the way, in case you haven’t had enough soccer talk, here’s a rad soccer fake injury video. Enjoy, gentle readers!
This entry was posted on July 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm and is filed under The Social Scene, The Sporting Life. Tagged: Diving is pussy-ass nonsense, Fake injuries in Soccer, Faking injuries makes soccer look even more douchey than it alreadu is, FIFA Copa Mundial, Fundamental flaw of soccer, I'm glad America lost so now I don't have to pay attention to soccer anymore, Soccer, Soccer stinks, Soccer vs. football, World Cup. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.