One of the blogs that I read almost daily, time allowing is called One Foot Tsunami and is written by Paul Kafasis. I like the style of his blog, his humour and his comments are always well thought out.
He wrote a piece today though, called Fixing Soccer and while a few of the points he raised in it are good, a couple of them are examples of why Football will never take off in the states as it has in the rest of the world, just as baseball doesn't have the same kind of appeal outside of America.
The point that generally struck home for me regarding this was point 2 in his article, bigger nets and the comment(s) made by the sports commentator that is that draws are sheer pointlessness. For me bigger nets would absolutely ruin the game, the whole point of football is that it's not supposed to be easy to score, it's a contest of skill between two teams to see who can expose and exploit weaknesses in the other team and score as a result. Having massive goals where every shot is a goal because the poor old goalkeeper can't run from one side of the net to the other in time, just so a game can finish 53-70 is for me pointless. You take away all of the skill required in opening up a defense, the anticipation and the drama of the goal, once something becomes commonplace then there's no thrill or excitement to it. Why not increase the size of the nets in hockey while we are at it? I agree that draws are frustrating, especially nil-nil draws, for the fans and for the players but it doesn't mean that the game itself had to be boring, it could have been a tense exciting game between two teams who managed to cancel each other out. Admittedly though there are times when it boils down to two teams milling around and I would agree that those types of games are frustrating and something that FIFA and UEFA have been trying to solve for years.
For me the answer is more to focus on the flow of the game and to keep it moving and to not allow players to get away with the tactics that they currently use to force the game to slow down or stop (i.e. fake injuries or oscar winning dives). The more the game can flow from one side to another, the more things can open up and the more opportunities there are for scoring.
Refs have stopwatches - thats how they know how much stoppage time to add :) He has to report this back and someone usually the announcers are supposed to tell the general TV watching public how much time has been added on.
The biggest problem with football these days really are the amazing lengths that some players go to, in order to get a foul or a free kick awarded, for the soul purpose of slowing the game down or taking the advantage away from the other team in a dangerous situation. This is the area I think, that needs to be worked on and I think that the issue here is that there is not an effective deterrent for the players that do this, so as to prevent them from doing it. Perhaps a penalty sit out if it's determined by the referee that the player was faking it would be the answer?
Now take all of the above with a large dose of salt, I'm not the ardent of football fans out there, I mainly follow the World cups and the European Championships, so a true football fan would probably beat me around the head for some of the things that I wrote but I know that bigger nets are not the answer.
p.s. I think we will stick with Football, it's what we use in English after all and describes the game perfectly :)
p.p.s. This is the point now, where I find out that the original article was a joke and can only slap myself in the forehead.