Leave The Gimmicks To Others
Have you seen what the NFL is talking about doing? They are seriously considering moving the spot of the ball for the extra-point, from the two-yard line back to the twenty-five. The reasoning is that the extra-point has become almost automatic and this will put some excitement into the game. This is clearly a case of trying to fix something that isn’t broken. Why do they always feel the need to change something for change sake?
Most know that I absolutely abhor change, especially when there is no need for it. I have always lived by the mantra that change is bad. When things are genuinely improved, I’ll jump on board. Clearly, the iPhone 5 was a vast improvement over the antiquated model I owned. I made the move two days after they came out and loved it. So don’t think I’m a total curmudgeon that longs for the days when the 8-track will regain its popularity. By the way…can anyone tell me why vinyl records are making a comeback? I haven’t missed warped records that scratch, hiss and make it tough to find a particular track. But for whatever reason – records are once again soaring in popularity.
NASCAR has made drastic changes (again) to their “Chase for the Sprint Cup”. The manufactured drama of their version of playoffs has always seemed contrived to me, since it was first introduced for the 2004 season. Now it just seems absurd. Under the new format, sixteen drivers will make the chase. Then after every third race, the lowest ranked four drivers are eliminated until there are only four drivers left entering the final race. Then, the points are reset where the final four drivers are even. Whichever of the remaining four drivers has the best finish in the season-finale at Homestead will win the championship.
Although it seems to contain a lot of artificial drama – I don’t have a huge problem with the new format until it gets down to that last race. Then, everything has the potential to go terribly wrong and unfair. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has rabid fans. As of right now, Dale, Jr. is the early Sprint Cup points leader, after a win at Daytona and a second-place finish at Phoenix. Let’s say Earnhardt continues to have a strong season and leads the points from February through the season-finale at Homestead. To even further demonstrate the point, let’s assume he wins the pole for the final race. After a completely dominating season, he gets caught up in someone else’s accident and stuffs his car into the wall. Suddenly, after leading the points wire to wire for nine months – Earnhardt finishes fourth in the championship. How excited do you think Junior Nation will be?
So often, sports entities decide that something needs to be tweaked or revamped when it really doesn’t. It’s just change for the sake of change.
All of us have had various complaints about the IndyCar Series over the years. It seems those complaints have grown louder over the past few months. They have made some unnecessary rule changes and done unneeded makeovers, like the proposed changes to the qualification format for this year’s Indianapolis 500. It can drive an anti-change person like me through the wall.
But I will take my hat off to the powers-that-be in IndyCar when it comes to the championship point-system – they have wisely left it alone for the most part. The only change they have made recently was adding a bonus point per race to a driver for leading at least one lap in a race. Winning the pole is worth another point and leading the most laps in a race is worth two points. Winning the race is worth fifty points, placing second will net you forty points, third earns thirty-five points and it continues to decrease down to twenty-fifth position paying only five points. Anything lower than that, still pays five points.
It sounds pretty simple, but it has worked to perfection over the years. In fact, the last time that the IndyCar championship did not go down to the final race was in 2004, when Tony Kanaan wrapped up the title at Fontana with a race still to run at Texas. Last year marked the ninth straight season that the championship went to the final race. Those nine years have produced some unbelievable moments in the season finale.
While almost every sport makes tweaks to make their sport more exciting for their fans, IndyCar has no reason to change their point structure. To their credit, they haven’t.
There are things about IndyCar that even a person like me who despises change, will admit need to be made in order to improve things. Thankfully, they have chosen to not adopt gimmicks and massive rule changes for their on-track product. A “chase” is probably the last thing that IndyCar needs. Hopefully, those in charge on 16th Street across from The Speedway will always realize this and not follow the lead of NASCAR and the NFL in making ridiculous and unnecessary changes. Change is bad!