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constant substitution (American) football

switch the entire line every play
  [vote for,

Cross-train all players in offensive and defensive positions. Substitute the entire line every play, so all players can get ~4 plays of rest between each active play. (As currently played, there is usually an offensive line and defensive line of ~11 players each, and the line stays on the field until possession changes.)

At low levels, it may make sense to have the best players play most of the time. But at high levels, where the differences between players are smaller, it may be better to have fresh players in every play.

Training all players in all positions would also aid the development of younger players, encourage team unity, and be more exciting to watch.

sninctown, Sep 30 2013


       Do you watch much American football? Position specialty is kind of a hallmark of the game. Vince Wilfork can't skin the nickel off a dime with a 35-yard bullet pass, but neither can Tom Brady run a forty with a Volkwagon Scirocco under each arm. Shirley you aren't suggesting that these players, widely considered to be among the finest in the NFL, could find greater success by trading places?
Alterother, Sep 30 2013

       I watch some, but not enough to appreciate the differences between similar offensive and defensive positions, e.g. the offensive line and the defensive line.
sninctown, Oct 01 2013

       Imagine playing a team sport where you spend much less than 50% of the time on field.   

       I mean cricket is bad enough in that respect, but at least it makes sense. I remember playing suburban division Rugby, where there were 5 players on the bench and a total of 5 substitutions allowed, all game (notwhithstanding the blood bin or send-off injuries, from which you couldn't return if substituted). You still specialised in position, but also had to be ready to fill a similar role if needed. More importantly, you ran your arse off for two 40 minute halves with little time for rest.   

       I suppose the goals and intents are just different, aren't they?
Custardguts, Oct 01 2013

       If this works out, can we try constant substitution in physics too? I've never been very keen on G.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 01 2013

       Might be a better idea for US legislature than football.
lurch, Oct 01 2013

       //4 plays of rest between each active play.//   

       Because they need more rest. The last game I watched, after 2 hours, I'd seen nearly 12 minutes of intense action....
bs0u0155, Oct 01 2013

       I think the proposal is quite sound, but football just isn't the game for it. I believe pro athletes in other sports, such as hockey, soccer, and basketball switch positions during practice, and I'm certain I heard something about pro rugby players being required to play every position.
Alterother, Oct 01 2013

       //pro rugby players being required to play every position//   

       Yeah, that's not really practical. One of the best features of Rugby (and by here I presume you mean rugby union, the original "Rugby", as opposed to rugby league, which is kind of devolved and lacks the sophistication) - is the mix of diversity and specialisation of position. A front rower should be able to catch, pass and kick like a fullback, but would never be expected to do so. I played a mix of hooker and tight-head prop for years, and my coach once said to me - "if I ever see you pass the ball again I'll stick my foot up your arse" - it's not that I passed badly, it's just passing isn't my job. Likewise, a fly half should be handy at the ruck and know how to maul, should be a good tackle - but their job is to not get involved. These specialisations obviously lend themselves to physical traits, in that front rowers are bulky and not too tall, fullbacks are tall and fast, and scrum halves are best described as rats, or perhaps mongooses, if you like that sort of thing.   

       What I'm saying is you'd never put a prop out to the wing, as they just couldn't physically do the job. Similarly, a fly half could not physically hold up their side of a scrum if put in as prop - they would literally break in half (and I mean that, it would be incredibly dangerous to attempt).   

       Have I mentioned before not to get me started on rugby?   

       As to the idea, I don't like it because I don't like being a spectator in a sport I'm supposed to be participating in. To my mind, the better option would be to just cut the team size down to a much smaller group, say half as many reserves as there are players, then instigate some rules controlling the frequency and overall number of substitutions made. Make the runners have to tackle. Make the catchers sometimes block, make the blocker sometimes run (and maybe even score). But overall, make everyone do more of everything, for the majority of the time. []
Custardguts, Oct 01 2013

       I was excited by the possibilities of the "constant" aspect. And then I find it is not constant at all, but just a changeup every play! The idea should be "More frequent substitution".
bungston, Oct 02 2013

       7 people line up and act at the same time. Each play most do something different. Subs just take too long to get with the program. If ends are running half way down the field, a bit of swapping makes sense.   

       TV gives you plenty of time to rest. Just the time the ref takes to reset chains or announce penalties is enough for most to recover.
popbottle, Oct 02 2013

       Ha Ha Lurch. Bun for the comment. +
blissmiss, Oct 03 2013


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