TELANDER: Cut out the fat, and other sports beefs
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org March 16, 2013 12:52AM
November 4, 2001--Bears defensive tackles Ted Washington (L) and Keith Traylor line up against the Browns. Sun-Times photo by Tom Cruze
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:53AM
It looks like the NFL is going to get rid of the ridiculous ‘‘tuck rule’’ (courtesy of Tom Brady), among other changes to the game. That’s great, but let’s hope the league’s competition committee doesn’t stop there.
Things I’d like to see:
◆ No more ‘‘icing the kicker.’’ ’Til hell freezes over. Dumb. Studies have shown it doesn’t work. If ‘‘clever’’ coaches want to call time out, they must do it before the kicking team has gone into formation.
◆ Players may not weigh over 300 pounds. Not even the big fat slob nose tackles. Nobody — nobody! — needs to weigh 15 percent of a ton. How about some health sense, NFL? Or turn sumo.
◆ A tackler may not make initial contact with his helmet to a ball carrier UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
◆ A tackler may not make initial contact with anything above the runner’s shoulders — via his own shoulder, forearm, clothesline, anything — EVER.
◆ A runner may not lower his head or use his helmet to ram foes. He will be penalized just like those whining tacklers.
◆ A defensive back may touch, bump, push or whack a receiver until the ball is in the air. After that, nobody touches anybody.
◆ A quarterback running the ball must raise an arm and wave it — like a player making a fair catch — if he intends to slide. And he’d better slide.
◆ There will be no more quarterback sliding and kicking the defender with one’s cleats (courtesy of Tom Brady).
◆ Offensive players may block below the waist, but only if the defender is not engaged and is in full view and in front of the blocker. (Why should a little tailback have to go high on a fat slob nose tackle?)
◆ Nobody may wear a reflective shield or visor just to look cool. If you don’t have a serious eye issue, off it comes.
◆ All wide receivers must wear gloves, spats, white shoes and boutonnieres. They also may have silver-tipped canes for twirling. Entourages for wide receivers of no more than three unarmed people or two gun bearers will be allowed on the bench.
On to basketball.
◆ I RECENTLY WENT TO an IHSA boys playoff game and watched a team stall. I had flashbacks to my own high school days, so long ago, when teams in tight shorts and Cons would sometimes take a 2-0 lead and then stall for an entire quarter, especially against a superior team.
It was a horrible thing to watch — even worse to be a part of. Dean Smith almost killed the college game with his Four Corners stall at North Carolina, something the shot clock nicely undid.
But I had forgotten there is no shot clock for Illinois boys high school games. When the top-ranked team in the state, Simeon, goes into a stall against a lesser foe like New Trier, even to run two minutes off the clock or to yank the foe out of a zone, something’s wrong.
High school games are only 32 minutes long. That’s precious little time as it is for teens to ball. A 45-second clock wouldn’t be a problem, but it would fix a big one.
◆ WHAT ELSE GETS MY JOCK in a knot?
Baseball. Specifically, pitchers who meddle and fidget and look around too much, like there’s something really interesting happening on second base, and don’t pitch the dang ball. Major-league pitchers get 12 seconds to pitch when there’s nobody on base. Make it eight. Hell, six. What else you doing on the mound?
And . . . batters. Batters have to get in the box when it’s their turn and prepare to hit. None of this raise-the-hand-at-the-last-instant-to-call-time-out-because-there’s-a-speck-of-dust-allegedly-in-my-eye. Sorry. Dust happens. Get in there, son. Stay there.
Those twitchy guys who have to re-establish the Velcro grip on their batting gloves, the slant of their helmets, the ride of their cup over their privates, and then must spit — onto gloves they’re wearing precisely so they don’t have to spit on their hands — drive me crazy!
Let me tell you, when Nomar Garciaparra retired, I rejoiced. The guy was a tic machine, a lunatic machine at the plate.
Throw the ball, hit the ball. End the game before we all die. Make it law.
◆ WHAT ELSE, NOW THAT it’s all coming out?
OK, tennis. Who says I can’t yell or stomp or cheer or boo when the players themselves sound like livestock being herded into slaughterhouse pens? Good God, some of those women sound like they’re being flayed alive or dubbing porno flicks.
I can express myself.
◆ AND GOLF.
If anyone — anyone — says, under any circumstances, ‘‘Get in the jar!’’ that person will be summarily beaten to death with rakes.
Are we clear?