MLB postseason, NHL shootouts among changes fans want to see

Published 8:04 a.m. ET March 15, 2019

Over the past week-and-a-half, USA TODAY Sports unveiled a list of 11 things we’d change in sports — from restructuring the playoffs to expanding the size of the NBA court, and everything in between.

Some of you loved the ideas we came up with. And some of you didn’t. And lots of you had pretty good ideas of your own — changes and reforms that you explained in emails, comments and social-media posts, many of them possibilities that we never even considered.

So now that we’ve gone through the 11 things we’d change in sports, here are some of things that you told us you’d change.

1. Restructure the MLB postseason to include more back-to-back games.

“The playoffs should be a microcosm of the season. You clinched with five starters. You shouldn’t be able to win with only three starters. I realize that my team (the Twins) benefited from that in 87 and 91 but I’m tired of watching baseball in November,” Joel Engstrom wrote in an e-mail.

2. Eliminate the first round of playoffs in the NBA and NHL.

“Four rounds diminishes the importance of the regular season,” KC Green wrote on Facebook.

3. Bring basketball’s over-and-back rule to soccer.

“I know soccer (football for the purists) is referred to as the beautiful game throughout the world. However, like most North Americans, I find it very slow-developing. … My suggested rule change would be to adopt a rule from basketball — that is, once the ball crosses the midfield line, there is no going back. This would make for a more aggressive and offensive game,” George Cushing wrote in an e-mail.

4. Don’t give home-field advantage to NFL division-winners.

“A team going 7-9 or 8-8 hosting as a 4-seed against a 5-seed who goes 11-5 or 12-4 is stupid. Just re-seed the top six teams from each conference and keep the other current tie breakers,” @buckybolen wrote on Instagram.

5. Restructure the NHL’s points system.

“3 pts for a regulation win. 2 for overtime win and 1 pt for OT loss. Don’t reward teams (that) go to overtime,” Phil Gole wrote in a comment.

6. Get rid of the kickoff in football.

“With the strength of kickers’ legs today, this is a huge waste of time in both the pros and college and leads to far too many penalties and injuries. Would also shorten games a bit. Just start the next possession at the 25-yard line,” Fred Kemp wrote in an e-mail.

7. Get rid of penalty-kick shootouts in soccer.

“(It’s) a stupid way of deciding any game, especially a World Cup Final. Instead, if after one period of overtime the score is still tied, both teams would have to remove 4 players from the field … giving much more space to move and pass and shoot. And the game would be decided by actually playing it,” Doug Henrichs wrote in an e-mail.

8. Add a shot clock to shootouts in the NHL.

“In a real game situation, the player doesn’t have time to stick-handle for what seems like hours before he finally shoots. Once they touch the puck, a four- or five-second clock should start. Much more realistic,” Joel Engstrom wrote in an e-mail.

9. Bring a rugby wrinkle to the NFL.

“Adopt a rugby style extra point kick, e.g. if a TD is scored in a corner, the PAT snap comes from an “outer” hash mark on that side of the field, near the yard numbers. Increased kick angle. (Might affect TD strategy?),” @B9000 wrote on Twitter.

10. Mandate full-cage helmets in the NHL.

“How has that not been implemented yet? Clearly a safety issue,” Scott Gaitten wrote on Twitter.

11. Replace the Presidents Cup with mixed age/mixed gender tournament.

“Have an international tournament where four under-50 men, four ‘senior men’ and four women are on the same team. … Host the first tournament at Augusta using three levels of tees. Would love to see formats (with) the best women in the game competing with the new and older generations of men,” Fred Kemp wrote in an e-mail.


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