Everyone wanted to believe the more replays, more officials, more camera angles and more scrutiny would equal less officiating problems in sports. And they have all been dead wrong. All the extras have led to nothing but bigger headaches for the NFL and the rest of the sports world, except tennis which has oddly mastered replay.
The change to the NFL's rule book and replay system has not been a good one and threatens to swallow up the season unless the NFL can get it figured out.
With the being said, here are what I consider to be the five worst changes made in sports for this week's Top 5 Thursday:
5. Field of 68 - Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to the Field of 68 in 2011, its been nothing but annoying. Its confused everybody on what round is what, redefined what the definition of "making the tournament" is and done nothing to settle the inevitable debates about which team should or should not be in. In my world, we'd add a Constitutional amendment to prevent anyone from ever changing the NCAA tournament, protecting it like a sacred national park, to preserve the perfection that is/was the field of 64.
4. Platoons - Being a platoon player used to be an insult to the player and the team. It meant you weren't good enough or the team was smart enough to find a single player to handle the starting job. Now, if you aren't platooning players in virtually all sports, you are failing a nerd challenge. Baseball doesn't have a starting 9 now, its a starting 15. NFL backfields have become a fantasy football nightmare with all the platoons. Even in hockey, goalies are no longer expected to carry the load themselves. You're either a starter or a bench player. But the millenials have ruined that now too, apparently.
3. NBA Playoff format - In 2003, the NBA decided the rare drama and even rarer upset of a top seed in a five game series in the first round was too much for it to bear. So they went to a full best of seven series for all rounds. While the NBA is thrilled it added playoff inventory for TV partners and virtually guaranteed no superstar player on a top seeded team will be bounced in the first round, they also annoyed everyone else. Its like if every TV series decided to never kill off a character or offer a plot twist. The NBA embraces predictability like no other entertainment option.
2. Thursday Night Football - Look, I would've loved TNF at a different stage of my life. But now, with a wife and kids, Thursday Night Football is just a gigantic inconvenience. Sure, we occasionally get treated to a legitimately great game like the Rams vs. Seahawks in Week 5 this year but if we added up all the time spent watching TNF, its still heavily tilted in the favor of bad football. Its also invited more gratuitous criticism of the NFL than ever before and generally has led to an over saturation of the product. But the ratings are also really good so its never, ever going anywhere.
1. The Shift - Its like the title of a Stephen King movie and the shift has been a horror for baseball fans. Listen, I understand its brought an element of defense to MLB that some enjoy and that its up to hitters to take advantage of entire sides of an infield left wide ass open, to quote Bruce Arians but I hate it. Baseball is predicated on failure. Hitters can fail 70% of the time and be in the Hall of Fame. We don't need to make baseball's degree of difficulty higher. Its absurd. Its also fundamentally changed the viewing experience of the game. We've also been trained to know exactly what a base hit looks like and now, its rarely an actual hit. Stolen bases are endangered species, as are complete games, sacrifices, actual stars and now the base hit. Its not a positive development for baseball but at least I feel like I'm getting good SAT prep while watching.