The NBA should give the players more incentive to compete in the all star game

I’m watching the NBA all star game right now as I’m writing this. It’s somewhat exciting. In comparison to other professional sport leagues version of the NBA all star game, it’s pretty good. For the most part they are able to play basketball similar to how they would if it was just a standard NBA game. With that said, the players clearly dont take it very seriously and you can tell based on their effort that both teams dont care a whole lot about actually winning the game. They constantly jack up low percentage deep threes, they dont compete for rebounds, and they put minimal to zero effort on defense. It’s still somewhat exciting to watch because it’s the worlds best basketball players all on the same court playing the game their the absolute best at. I think this game has a lot of potential. If the players actually took it seriously, and played with an urgency to win, it could be just as exciting to watch as the NBA finals. It would be the absolute highest level of competition possible in basketball. The amazing matchups that would you would see, the highest level of scoring , defense, rebounding all put on display on one court to decide which conference could put together the more effective team. I cant even imagine how exciting that would be. Seeing the elite of the elite of any sport all compete together is very rare in any sport. With the lack of physicality in todays NBA, the all star game could be played competitively with little risk of injury. NBA athletes play up to 82 games in the regular season alone, how much would they really be risking by competing hard for one more game? The level of excitement generated from this game actually being competitive, far negates any heightened risk of injury from one single game. Don’t get me wrong, I dont blame the players for not competing hard. That’s not what this is about. Why would the players want to risk injury for a game that means virtually nothing? The players clearly dont have any real incentive to compete hard in the all star game because they clearly dont compete hard in the all star game. They hand out a trophy and the winner gets money donated to their charity and all that, but its not enough. There’s a number of ways the NBA could provide more incentive for winning the all star game. The best way to do it, I think, would be to make the result of the all star game impact the ratio of home and away games between the east and west teams for the remainder of the regular season. If home court percentage between east and west teams is equal, make it so that the winning conference gets 75% of games played against the opposing conference to be played at home, for the second half of the season. You would want a potential increase or decrease in home games large enough to motivate players, but not enough to necessarily drastically impact the results of the season. Even players who aren’t on teams capable of competing in the playoff’s would have large incentive to want more home games. Less road games means less travel time, meaning more rest, more time with their families. This would have an impact on every single player that participates in the all star game. And for for players on the top NBA teams, it would provide an edge in who has home court advantage in the finals due to the advantage their conference would have in the regular season against teams of the opposing conference. The NBA all star game is cool, but it’s not exciting because it’s not competitive. It’s like watching the best boxers in the world casually spar versus actually fight. It’s more of a scrimmage than an actual game. This proposal might seem drastic, but I am sick of seeing a game with so much potential be so disappointing. The entire point of professional sports is to be exciting, make the all star game more exciting. Make the players want to compete.

The flawed officiating system of the NFL

In week 15 the Kansas city chiefs defeated the New England patriots in Foxboro. The Patriots offense was stagnant, and the explosive Kansas city offense managed to do enough against the stout New England defense to get the win.

My thought after this game weren’t necessarily about the tell tale of either of these teams, or the future playoff implications, or anything like that. I couldn’t get over two specific plays. The play were Nkeal Harry of the Patriots reached over the goal line but was called short. And the play where Travis Kelce fumbled and a New England defender recovered it in stride with the end zone in sight but the play was whistled down because Travis Kelce was called down by contact.

These were two crucial plays in the game. The missed call on the Nkeal harry touchdown was a 4 point swing. No debate necessary on that one. The refs cost the new England patriots 4 points on that drive. On the Travis Kelce fumble play there is no doubt that the Patriot defender would have gained a significant return, and most likely score a touchdown.

I just dont understand why this should happen. With the resources of the NFL, there is just no need for it. On the missed Nkeal Harry touchdown, the patriots were helpless because they were out of challenges. The entire concept of a challenge is based on the accepted room for error by the referees.

If you have a group of referees on the field that are responsible for calling, and not calling penalties in real time, it is obvious there are going to be mistakes. And there are. To help cope with that fact, the NFL has coaches challenges, and referee review on scoring plays, and plays within the 2 minute warning. These rules are in place to help get the significant plays in the game called correctly. which is great. Although, the fact they feel the need to have these rules for specific situations shows a flawed process.

The fact that they review such a minuscule amount of the plays on the field, and we see time and time again that these play calls need to be corrected by review shows a flawed process. It shows that it is too difficult for the on field referees to adequately officiate the game in real time. with so few of the plays in the game actually reviewed, think about how many play calls the refs must get wrong. Think about how all these incorrect calls have impacted so many games to come to incorrect outcomes. Think about how much power this gives the referees. Power that is vulnerable to bias, and emotion resulting in incorrect calls.

In a game that is commonly referred to as a game of inches, these inches are often decided by the subjective calls of referees. The NFL has accepted a level of failure with its officiating process. In the past, this was acceptable. But today, with the vast resources of the National football league why should the NFL accept any room for error? There is absolutely no need for it. The NFL is completely capable of getting every single call on the field correct on every single play. So why shouldn’t they? If the NFL could get every single play called correctly on the field, it would leave fans with the feeling that the right team won every single game.

It feels completely unnecessary and outdated to have referees on an NFL field deciding the outcome of nearly every play in the game. If the NFL has come to the conclusion that in critical situations (scoring plays and under 2 minutes) video review should over rule the calls of officials in real time, then why shouldn’t all plays be decided by video review?

The logistics of this would certainly be a little difficult. One of the arguments against this approach is that it could slow down the game. Although, I believe with the resources of the national football league, they could easily manage to get every call correct with video review. While also maintaining the same pace of the game. The NFL could have 20 plus people in a room with video of all players on the field. And they could review footage of specific aspects of the plays as many times as they can with the time that they have. The NFL wouldn’t even necessarily have to get rid of on field officials entirely, but at least have meticulous video review of every single aspect of every single play.

Another argument against this approach is that there would be too many penalties. Nobody wants to watch a football game with penalties on nearly every single play. While this is a understandable argument, I believe that if NFL teams know that their players are going to be reviewed on every single play, players would adjust. Players would stop pushing to the gray area of calls, and try to play within the rules every play. If there would still indeed be too many penalties after an adjustment period, then its obvious the NFL penalty rules are too strict, and should be changed.

This lack of review, and accountability of the officiating process of the National Football League has created this gray area for referees. A gray area in play calls that leaves penalty outcomes far too much to chance, and leaves an on field officiating crew with far too much power. The NFL has the power to erase this subjectivity in its penalty calls, and make the game truly fair. The reason why they wont? I am not too sure.