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FIFA Or The NFL? Who Runs Their Sport Better?

FIFA Or The NFL? Who Runs Their Sport Better?

When we think of FIFA nowadays we tend to immediately generate imagery in our head of a suited, predominantly white, Mafia type organisation.

No doubt over time they've done more good for the game than bad but as many recent investigations have shown the size and scope of the organisation seems to have stretched it conscience past it's limit. Corruption and general scandal smothers much of the brand these days and the new president is going to have to find an extremely potent cleaning agent to remove their image-stained reputation.

Even before this time, FIFA were seen very much similar to the FA, ran by traditional, conservative old men with a disliking for technology and an even bigger disliking for change. Only now, perhaps a decade too late are we seeing video technology being used whilst in the meantime the referees have been empowered to become the governing body's subservient bureaucrats, slowing down the game at every opportunity to enforce the pages and pages of poorly altered and negative rule changes.

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Football is over-managed. FIFA and football governing bodies may be masters of the brown envelope and corporate revenue but as a product the game itself hasn't really been improved since the backpass rule was introduced. The NFL is different.One thing that you can be sure of in the NFL is a pro-active management structure. Each season they regularly review ways to make the game more marketable, watchable and ultimately enjoyable. Unlike our Football the referees have used video technology in the NFL for years. It works well. The referee teams for each game are well manned, efficient and well respected.

The whole culture surrounding game management is so more swept up than many other global sports. You won't see six players swamp an official for every single decision in the NFL, another pleasant change you'll find from your regular viewing. As I said this management structure is constantly striving for ways to improve the game. Usually they favour the offensive viewpoint and many of the rule changes are introduced in order to achieve higher scoring games and more touchdowns.

That is what the fans want. As Cameron Diaz say's in 'Any Given Sunday': 'People want to see passes, touchdowns, high scores.' Amen. This season the touchback rule has been changed. Last year if your kickoff man was strong enough he could kick the ball all the back past your 'endzone', thus denying you an opportunity to return the ball (and potentially score). You would have to automatically start on the 20 yard line.

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Most kicking teams opted for this option as allowing a return carried a small element of risk. From this season this touchback will result in teams receiving starting from the 25 yard line. The team analysts will no doubt start to opt for attempting to kick the ball the receiving team so they catch it very close to their endzone but not far enough for a touchback.

Long and short of it is we're sure to see many more returns from kick-offs and no doubt some big runs up field and even potential returning touchdowns from Special Teams. Other changes will include the permanent implementation of moving the extra point attempt back to the 15 yard line.

This was tried last season and resulted in a number of extra point conversion being missed. Historically after the touchdown gave a team 6 points the extra point (from the 10 yard line) was almost a given but this added distance has added a degree of error.

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Again the point here was not necessarily to increase scoring but add some more unpredictability. It worked well as it also resulted in higher percentage of 2 point attempts, thus increasing variance within games. There have also been a number of small rule changes which I won't go into but most are aimed at assisting the offense and limiting the capability of the defense.

The NFL wouldn't openly admit that but that's the grand strategy overall. One small example would be the removal of the 5 yard penalty for eligible receivers touching a forward pass when they have gone out of bounds and come back in. Instead they now just suffer a loss of a down. Again, it favours the offense and limits the damage to their drive. As JFK used to say 'In the final analysis' you've got a pro-active organisation in the NFL regularly improving the game for the better. More offense, more points, more entertainment. FIFA could learn a thing or two.

 

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