If there’s one thing fans, athletes and media can agree on, it’s that there are a lot of rules in sports. And while some make “the game” better, we still enjoy bending, pushing, undermining, redefining and—of course—breaking them. In ESPN The Magazine’s “New Year, New Rules!” issue, on newsstands tomorrow, Dec. 17, The Mag looks at the impact that rules have on our favorite games.
New Year, New Rules’! “21 Ways to Shake up Sports” considers a few ways to tweak sports for the better, including ‘No sharing of numbers in college football,’ ‘Fine players relative to salary’ and ‘Weed out BCS weaklings.’ Also in the current issue, writer David Fleming examines the NFL’s revision of Rule 16 (Sudden-Death Procedures) and the lengthy deliberation that went into changing it—in “The Making of NFL Rule 16.”
In “Concussion Confidential,” The Mag polls high school players, coaches, parents and trainers to find out their thoughts on concussions in high school football.
PLUS… In ESPN The Magazine’s back-of-the-book poll, “Scale of 1 to 10,” athletes answer the question, “How much does your commish care what players think?”
· Shaquille O’Neal, Celtics: “Ten. Players don’t get the big picture, but Stern does. That’s why there’s one chief and everybody else has to be Indians.”
· Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox: “Three. Bud Selig does care what we think, but it’s still about the owners first.”
· Martin Brodeur, Devils: “Five. And that’s giving Gary Bettman the benefit of the doubt. He has an agenda the voice of the player goes only so far.”
“New Year, New Rules!” Features:
Take a read of the original rules of baseball, basketball, hockey, NASCAR and golf, and take a journey back to weirder, er, simpler times.
Change We Can Believe in
The shot clock and the forward pass? Just two of the six best sports rules of all time. By Charles Curtis and Eddie Matz
Goes Without Saying…
Honor and loyalty are the basis for many of sports’ unwritten rules, and more than a few athletes adhere to the code. By Steve Wulf
You Can’t Do That!
Wisconsin’s Badgers show how the conventional wisdom about what it takes to win in college football is often unwise. By Alyssa Roenigk
An Undisclosed Violation of Team Rules covers a lot of ground and leaves some athletes unfairly stigmatized. By Shaun Assael
When Madness Took Over
The death of eight fans in an off-road racing crash demonstrates what can happen when rules aren’t enforced. By Molly Knight