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Field Goal Improvement

With apologies to the folks who may not understand the rant
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<rant> I fricking hate the field goal. It diminishes the integrity of what is otherwise an incredible, fascinating, challenging sport.

For those who don't know American Football (although to hear the NFL tell it, everyone on that side of the water is a HUGE England Monarchs or Scottish Claymores fan), it is most exquisitely chess on grass (far more so than Cricket, and I do have some familiarity with Cricket). It pits the ingenuity of coach against coach more profoundly than any other team sport. That is, with the exception of the goddam field goal. In short, the field goal is a way for one puny freak from Scandinavia to make up for the failure of eleven bazillionaire professionals on his team, by putting his outsized leg into the ball and kicking it through the goal posts. It has some similarity to the (I think they call it) penalty kick in rugby, except the teams employ ONE GUY to do this and only this. And worse, they employ another guy to HOLD THE FRICKING BALL for him. And that's ALL he does. Talk about overspecialization! And they can be fifty yards from the end zone (the "touchdown" -- "try" in rugby?), they still get half the points they would get if they hadn't screwed up and done their jobs right, if he makes it. And these days, they never miss. These guys are so specialized, they couldn't pick up a ball and run the right way with it, but they can sure kick that damn field goal. </rant>

<idea> So I propose some changes. First, send all the field goal kickers back to Sweden and Italy. If a team can't advance down the field, they can opt to kick a field goal, but the last guy who had the ball has to do it. And no fricking holder, either. He has to drop-kick it, like rugby players do. Now, some have proposed that field goals from further away should score more than close ones. Pppphaw! That would only encourage the team not to advance, and destroy what little integrity the game has left. I say, put a cross-bar halfway up the goal posts, so that if the guy makes it over the half-way crossbar, the team scores only two points. He has to get it UNDER the midway crossbar, and over the bottom crossbar to score three points. That way field goals from further away are only more points if they have the skill to get them into the lower section. </idea>

Thank you for your support. Go Ravens.

globaltourniquet, May 02 2001


       Where are my blockers?   

       (Hey Peter... PedanticTourniquet says.... a complete 'misnomer'... oxymoron contains its own contradiction)
globaltourniquet, May 02 2001

       As you have correctly guessed American football is not very popular in the UK. People sometimes watch the Superbowl over here and this is about the only time you'll catch someone drinking Budweiser. Basketball is more popular, I believe, and probably because it is playable. British people like games they can actually play so they can sympathise with the bloke who is risking getting his ears ripped off a rugby scrum.
Aristotle, May 02 2001

       I'm still reeling from the use of the word 'profoundly' to describe 'Football' in any sense
thumbwax, May 02 2001

       Several of these definitions describe precisely why you are reeling, t-wax.   

       PROFOUND 1 a : having intellectual depth and insight b : difficult to fathom or understand
2 a : extending far below the surface b : coming from, reaching to, or situated at a depth
3 a : characterized by intensity of feeling or quality b : all encompassing : COMPLETE

       The intricacies of strategy that a coaching staff has to go through during the course of a game are lost on the unfootballed. It is a chess match from their perspective.
globaltourniquet, May 02 2001

       Doesn't the crossbar-thing feature in Aussie Rules? If so - baked.   

       I love the way the whole kicking idea undermined the Claymores for a while. Gavin Hasting, the ex-Scotland Rugby Union captain, kicked for a season or so. And as part of the union game he had scored record points regularaly kicking penalties from inside his own half (which is not that unusaul in Internation rubgy). Of course, in Union you can't elect to have a penalty if you can't be bothered running all the way to the try line. Which begged the question why did the Claymores run at all? You did get comentators wondering if Hastings was going to be called as soon as they got the ball into the opponents half.   

       Long aside aside, my point is (sorry global) this is just another reason why American football is a very stupid game, not quite up to par with a range of other sports. Don't change kicking, just abolish the game.
mcscotland, May 09 2001

       Unfortunately your suggestion raises some problems globaltourniquet. If you are to get rid of the goal kickers simply because all they do is kick for goal, do you also get rid of the quarterback, simply because all he does is throw the ball? The defensive line, because all they do is block? Do you prevent teams from punting? Why have two separate teams for offense and defence?   

       Specialisation of players is a major factor in American football. Specialisation of players is a major factor in chess.
Rodomontade, May 09 2001

       I am not against specialization at all. It's one of the things that does make American football (as well as chess) interesting. I am against over-specialization. The kicker and the holder are way over-specialized.   

       But mcscotland is throwing a tremendous baby out with some pretty nasty bathwater by saying just abolish the game. I agree that the field goal renders the game stupid. But it renders an otherwise brilliant game stupid. The reason is because it undermines the whole point of the intricate strategy that is so vital to the rest of the game. I would also be OK with simply abolishing the field goal altogether, although I can see the value in partially rewarding a half-way approach to the goal. Just not one so significant, and so automatic.
globaltourniquet, May 09 2001

       This is somewhat easier, make the endzones 5 yds longer, and put the post back there... it will reduce the number of FG a team goes for (at least from their 35.... make them try to go for it).   

       I also like the idea of a forced 4th down pass/run/punt (no FG) when you are within 2 yards of a 1st down.
pnewp, May 09 2001

       Hmm, ok, point taken - the idea is to reduce over-specialisation, and to put more emphasis on the tactical conflict (although I'm still not convinced that the 'special' team is the only heavily over-specialised class of player in American football).   

       Your scoring idea is actually baked (sort of) although not in Aussie rules as mcscotland suggests. Aussie rules does have a form of this - there are 4 posts, set up like this: | | | |. The idea being to kick the ball between the posts, more points being scored if the ball goes between the two middle posts. (Note that this doesn't stop the footballers from kicking the ball towards goal from nearly anywhere on the pitch).   

       A much more similar scoring idea is apparent in Gaelic football and hurling. In this case the goal is comprised of a cross between a football [...soccer] goal and a rugby goal. The lower part is a football goal, and the posts extend upwards to create the H of a rugby goal. A team scores 3 points for getting the ball into the lower netted goal (which is guarded by a goalkeeper) and 1 point for getting the ball between the posts but over the bar.   

       The problem is that your suggestion is a drastic alteration to American football - the knock-on effects of removing the field goal are impossible to predict (I fear that it would make the game more cagey and defensive if teams didn't have a field goal chance to fall back on - or the classic driving, inching play would maybe be superseded by 3 attempts to make big gains followed by a punt downfield).
Rodomontade, May 10 2001

       And we should absolutely remove the extra point kick. I thought the idea worked very well in the XFL, where a team had to score again running or passing from the two yard line for the extra point.
globaltourniquet, May 10 2001

       I have much sympathy with your point of view, Glob, but not with some of the details. I enjoy American Football from time to time, but there are one or two rules regarding kicking that may be worth importing from Rugby football. In rugby, for example, a kicker can have an unopposed penalty kick at goal when the opposition have made an infringement. This seems reasonable, and if you ban field goals it would still provide a small amount of employment for your imported Swedes. Field Goals should not be allowed on any old fourth down though, unless kicked in general play.   

       Something else worth considering importing from rugby, is the position the ball is placed for the "extra point" kick (I forget what you call it - it's called a conversion in rugby) that occurs after a touchdown. In rugby this is always taken from a point back down the field, but in a direct line from where the try was scored, thus encouraging scorers to touchdown between the posts if possible, and adding an extra degree of skill for the kicker (having to deal with tricky angles when touchdowns are in the corner and judging how far back to place the ball). This lateral positioning of the ball is also used when taking penalty kicks.
Lemon, May 10 2001

       If you took the field goal out of football, it wouldn't be football anymore. The field goal stays. If you don't understand it maybe you should try soccer and really be bored and frustrated.
bspollard, Dec 12 2002


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