I'm not exactly a fan of soccer, as alluded to before. I've been thinking and it occurred to me that if soccer adopted some of the rules in the NBA, it would be infinitely more entertaining to watch. It'll never happen, but I can dream, eh?
1. Defensive 3-seconds.
NBA: A defensive player must not remain in the lane for longer than 3 seconds unless he is actively guarding an offensive player.
Soccer: The goal area of a soccer pitch is significantly larger than the key of a basketball court. So perhaps we can extend the time from 3 seconds to 9 seconds. A defensive player must actively be guarding a player in the goal area. This means no more 11 defensive players dispersed throughout the goal area.
2. No off-side penalty.
NBA: There's no such thing as off-side. If there was, there wouldn't be any fastbreak opportunities.
Soccer: Having the off-side rule makes scoring even harder than it already is. Getting rid of it would introduce fastbreak opportunities, which are always fun to watch.
3. Nature of disqualifications.
NBA: If a player is ejected for whatever reason, he is disqualified but his team can still have 5 players on the court.
Soccer: Currently, if a player is ejected, his team goes from having 11 players on the pitch to just 10. The team should not be penalized for the actions of a single player.
4. Different types and values of goals.
NBA: The value of each goal is in proportion to the difficulty of the attempt. A free-throw is worth 1 point. A field-goal within the three-point-arc is worth 2 points. A field-goal beyond the arc is worth 3 points.
Soccer: Currently, everything is worth 1 point. Penalty kicks and normal goals should not be valued the same when the former is infinitely easier than the latter.
5. Shot clock.
NBA: The offensive team has 24 seconds to attempt a field goal on each possession. If they fail, they turn the ball over to the defense.
Soccer: No such thing as a shot clock. A possession can last as long as possible. This makes some matches unbearable to watch. If a team is up by several goals and have possession of the ball, they just play hot-potato with the ball in the back and middle field to burn time. They don't press the action and the defense is unlikely to get the ball back to attempt a comeback. I would propose they have a 60-second shot clock. The offense must attempt a shot within the 60-second time limit. A shot attempt would be if the ball is either scored, touched by the goal keeper, bounced off the goal post, or sailed out of bounds behind the goal line.
6. Back court violation
NBA: once the offense advances the ball past the mid-court line, the offense may not cross back into the backcourt. Doing so will result in a turnover.
Soccer: Currently, there's no such rule. If there was, the game would be faster, spacing would be better, and there would be far greater number of possession changes.
7. 8-second violation
NBA: The offense has 8 seconds to advance the ball into the frontcourt.
Soccer: Currently, no such rule. If there was this rule, the offense would be forced to push the pace. Again, if the rule was adopted, it would likely be lengthened due to the size of the field (perhaps 20 secs)
8. The game should be officially timed.
NBA: Nothing is above the game timer. If a shot attempt was released 0.1 seconds after time expired, it doesn't count. Once the timer counts down to 0 seconds, the game/quarter is over.
Soccer: The length of the match is at the sole discretion of the referee. That makes no sense to me. If a match is seconds away from being over and the team that is down recovers possession and is in position to run an offensive play, the referee would allow the play to continue even though it clearly ran over the time limit.
I'm all for stoppage time. I think it's necessary since the game clock never stops during play. But if the amount of stoppage time is determined, then it should be strictly followed. If at the end of 90 minutes the officials decide that there should be 6 minutes of stoppage time added, then there should be 6 minutes, no more no less. The teams should manage the clock with their play. The referee should not be managing it with his judgement.
9. No penalty shootouts
NBA: If a game is tied at the end of regulation, there's no free throw contest to determine the winner. That would be idiotic. Overtime is the way to go.
Soccer: A penalty shootout at the end of a tied game is similarly idiotic. The game of soccer is one of athleticism, endurance, coordination, etc. Just because the game is tied doesn't mean it needs to be reduced to a penalty shootout. Just go to overtime indefinitely. The team with the best conditioned players will prevail, as they should.
10. Stop touching each other and play by the rules.
None of my proposed rule changes will likely even have a chance of making it into the official rule book. So how about this? No rule changes; just enforce the current rules. Specifically, I'm talking about the excessive amount of physical contact in the sport. In every play of every game, the players are always grabbing each other for position. When jousting for position, players sometimes even get body slammed. There's pushing and shoving everywhere. Strange enough, the rules say that pushing, holding, and tripping are not allowed. Yet, they happen ALL THE TIME. Everyone is breaking the rules at every moment of every game!