I’ll let my legal expert, Adrian the Canadian take it away (and believe it or not, this has little to do with the incompetence of the replacement referees and everything to do with the NFL’s replay review procedures):
Every football fan, even the replacement refs, was relieved when the NFL and the real officials resolved their labor dispute. The fast resolution was driven, in large part, by the result of the Monday Night game between the Seahawks and the Packers. By now, even non-fans know what happened. If you’ve been living in a shoe box, here’s the video of the call that encompasses the replacements’ legacy. But simply blaming the replacement refs doesn’t quite get us to the clearly incorrect result. Yes, the refs blew it on the field, but they also had a chance to review the play using instant replay and still allowed the call on the field to stand. How could instant replay fail to correct such an obvious mistake?
Down by five, the Seahawks had one chance to beat the Packers: a Russell Wilson Hail Mary pass. While the pass was in the air, Seahawks receiver Golden Tate first pushed off and over a Green Bay defender Continue reading
Posted in Common Sense, Football, Rules Analysis
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, football, Golden Tate, Green Bay Packers, hail mary pass, incontrovertible evidence, legal football, Mike Pereira, Monday Night Football, monday night game, National Football League, NFL, NFL legal analysis, NFL replay review legal issues, NFL replay review rules, NFL replay review rules and analysis, packers robbed, Peter King, replacement referees, rules NFL, Russell Wilson, seahawks gift, seahawks hail mary, Seattle Seahawks, simultaneous catch reviewable, simultaneous catch reviewable end zone, Sports, standard of review, tie goes to the runner, was the Seahawks play reviewable
This afternoon, I tuned in for the last two games of the Wimbledon semifinal between Andy Murray and Jo-Willy Tsonga. Andy Murray won the match, making him the first British male finalist at Wimbledon in 74 years (no pressure, Andy!).
The winning point was a bit strange, however. Murray hit an aggressive shot that was a tough call for the umpire. The crowd exploded, but then quickly realized the ump called it out. No matter. Murray put a finger in the air and challenged the shot. Under tennis replay rules, players can challenge in or out calls, and the disputes are decided by the Hawk-Eye ball tracking system. Hawk-Eye uses high frame rate cameras to map the trajectory of the ball. The Hawk-Eye trajectory showed the ball nicking the outside of the line, and Murray was through to the finals!
I asked my buddy Tony, a staunch replay opponent, whether he would have felt bad if Murray had lost the match in the absence of replay review. He said no, because he guessed the tennis replay system faces precision issues. This is his standard “blades of grass” complaint. On extremely close plays, there is no way to tell whether a ball (or player, in other sports) is in or out, because it comes down to the deformation of the ball on impact, individual blades of grass, and lack of precision in painted lines.
I set about to prove him wrong, under the premise that a computer-driven system like Hawk-Eye would have definable precision. In one way, I was right. Hawk-Eye’s average error is 3.6 mm. But if that’s the case, why is it used to make calls that are well within it’s margin of error? Continue reading
Posted in Innovative Ideas, Other Sports, Rules Analysis, Science
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, Andy, Andy Murray, Andy Murray hawkeye, blades of grass, close calls tennis, cricket, error range Hawk-Eye, FIFA goal line review, FIFA Hawk-Eye, football, Hawk-Eye, Hawk-Eye error, Hawk-Eye flawed, Hawkeye, incontrovertible evidence, indisputable evidence, LBW, leg before wicket, Murray, Murray's last shot Hawk-Eye, Murray's last shot vs. Tsonga, problems with Hawk-Eye, problems with tennis review system, Roger Federer, semifinal between andy murray, soccer goal line review technology, soccer Hawk-Eye, Sports, Tennis, tennis challenge system, tennis replay review system, The Championships Wimbledon, Tsonga, was Murray's last shot in, Wimbledon
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from the real Rules Guru, Adrian the Canadian. He has a good excuse – he’s been busy studying rules that actually matter to prepare for Ontario’s bar exam. However, my recent post addressing two soccer articles by my brother Conor lulled him out of hiding. Conor’s spot-on tribute to the toughness of Carles Puyol set me off on a tangent about soccer’s worst trait: diving. In Part 1 of his return, Adrian tells FIFA how to clean up this eyesore:
I’ve been watching a lot of Euro 2012 recently. The standard of play has been high. Games have featured ample scoring, good defense, and the top teams have made it through, leaving us with two potentially excellent semi-finals and the prospect of an even better final. And yet I’m still deeply troubled by the amount of diving in the game. Every half features at least one or two incidences of notorious play acting as players, in an attempt to draw a foul, contort and moan on the grass. It’s not just inelegant, it slows down the game and interrupts potentially excellent passages of play. Worst of all, I think the problem is a tractable one, just one that football authorities have been reluctant to combat.
The biggest problem with eliminating diving is that there will always be a tremendous incentive for players to dive. As we all know, it’s very difficult to score in soccer. Having a stern penalty for fouls in the penalty area – a penalty shot and near sure goal (unless you’re England) – opens up play and increases scoring. The issue is compounded by the fact that soccer is a fast game. It’s very difficult for officials to determine whether a challenge was legitimate or not or whether a player is diving or was actually hurt by a tackle. Thus, we should avoid a rule that makes scoring more difficult or a rule that puts a greater onus on the referees – they’re in a difficult enough situation as it is.
The most intuitive solution is what the MLS does (and what the NBA is threatening to do) – it decreases the incentive to dive Continue reading
Posted in Commentary, Rules Analysis, Soccer
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, Carles Puyol, Carles Puyol tough, Conor Williams, diving football, diving reviews soccer, diving ruins soccer, diving soccer flopping basketball, England penalty kicks, Euro 2012, FIFA, fines for flopping NBA, flopping, football, Germany, how to stop diving soccer, Jürgen Klinsmann, Klinsmann dive video, Klinsmann diving, Klinsmann dove a lot, MLS diving, National Basketball Association, NBA flopping, Ontario, Ontario bar exam, Piermario Morosini, Rudi Völler, rules guru, soccer, too much diving in soccer, UEFA, Voller dive, Voller dive video, West Germany, West Germany Argentina 1990, West Germany World Cup final 1990 video, World Cup final 1990
The NHL playoffs have many more upsets than the NBA. Adrian the Canadian tells me that this is ruining their product, since the most exciting teams often get unlucky and bow out early. I can’t help but agree — I stopped watching this year after my favorite team (the Red Wings), my local team (the Bruins), and probably the best team (the Penguins) got bounced. The NHL wasn’t always so unpredictable — the Canadiens, Islanders, and Oilers won 13 of 15 cups between 1975-76 and 1989-90. Adrian’s theory is that the the rise of the butterfly goalie has increased save percentages, which makes outcomes more random.
It’s pretty easy to show that increased save percentages do indeed muddy up the result. I generated 1,000 simulated games for three sets of parameters. First, the 1980s (before the butterfly):
- Both teams: 89% save percentage
- Team A: 32 shots per game on average
- Team B: 28 shots per game on average
Then, for the late 90s/early 2000s (butterfly goalies, slightly fewer shots on average perhaps due to popularity of the neutral zone trap): Continue reading
Posted in Common Sense, Hockey, Probability Analysis
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, average goals in the NHL, butterfly goalies, Canada, Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, effect of butterfly goalies, game series, get rid of shootouts, goaltending has improved nhl, hockey is random, hockey playoff upsets, hockey unpredictable, National Hockey League, neutral zone trap, NHL, NHL playoffs, playoffs, quality team, randomness in hockey, Red Wings, save percentage, shoot outs, shootouts, shootouts are dumb, shootouts lucky, shootouts not fair, Sports, Stanley Cup playoffs, Team B, too many upsets hockey
“But he’s Canadian,” you say, “So what does he know about baseball?” Well, he’s from Toronto, the team most screwed by the current system, so let’s give it a shot:
A few days ago, the MLB announced that it was expanding its playoffs to include a second wild-card team. Under the new system, the two wild-cards will play a single game that determines who goes to the divisional series. Response has been, at best, mixed. The strongest criticisms, like this one from ESPN’s Joe Sheenan, have taken a traditionalist perspective. Sheenan worries about what this new system will mean for deep-seated, and still exciting, elements of baseball like the pennant race. He sees the wild-card system as debasing what has historically been one of the most exciting parts of being a baseball fan: following your team through a tense September race to win the division. By Sheenan’s estimation, the old system encouraged top teams to play their best throughout the whole season. If you happen to be one of the two best teams in the league by regular season record but can’t win your own division, tough grapes.
I sympathize with Sheenan and other traditionalists. Baseball’s regular season is long and arduous and does a pretty good job of determining the “best” team (or, at least, a better job than other pro-sports at determining the best team). Meanwhile, baseball playoffs, due to the nature of the game, are pretty close to random. As Billy Beane said, “my shit doesn’t work in the playoffs” – seven and five game series are simply too short to give us a good idea as to which team is best. In the 17 post-seasons since the advent of the wild-card, the wild card team has won five times Continue reading
Posted in Baseball, Common Sense, Pop Culture, Probability Analysis, Rules Analysis
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, baseball, Billy Beane, Boston Red Sox collapse, coin flip game, coin flip game is dumb, Division Series, ESPN, George Will, Joe Sheenan ESPN, League Championship Series, Major League Baseball, MLB playoff system is stupid, MLB playoff system proposal, MLB playoffs, MLB playoffs new rules, MLB playoffs new system, New York Yankees, pennant race, playoffs, probabilities, St. Louis Cardinals wild card World Series, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto, Toronto Blue Jays, Wild Card, wild cards, World Series, World Series odds
It’s Adrian the Canadian’s turn on part 2 of Hockey Night in America! Here’s what he proposes for the NHL, as they adjust to the new evidence about the dangers of head injuries:
Last night, Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury almost had a dust up over Eric Nystrom’s hit of Kris Letang (Deadspin has the link). The battle lines are the ones I’ve discussed here before – Roenick believes that Letang put himself in a bad position, Milbury, who I’ve criticized before for his Paleo positions, thinks that the hit was unnecessary. On ice, the referees thought that Nystrom deserved a “roughing minor” for the hit. For the uninitiated, a roughing penalty is given when one player hits another in the head with his hand or fist. Roughing is usually a minor penalty.
“Roughing” seems like an odd call here, Nystrom doesn’t seem to obviously punch Letang. After Letang punches the puck up along the boards, Nystrom continues attempts to hit Letang, misses him, and catches him on the chest/chin with some part of his arm – there does not seem to be a “punching motion.” Yet, it seems clear that Nystrom has done something wrong: Continue reading
Posted in Hockey, Rules Analysis
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, boarding, hits, hits to the head, hockey, hockey head injuries, hockey hitting rules, hockey late hit rules, inteference, Jeremy Roenick, Kris Letang Eric Nystrom, Letang hit, Mike Millbury, Millbury Roenick argument, NHL, Nystrom hit on Letang, Nystrom should have been suspended, roughing
Being Canadian, Adrian has a lot to say about hockey. I’ll let him take it away:
In August, the NHL held its (now annual) Research, Development, and Orientation (RDO) Camp. The RDO Camp is an interesting idea — it gives NHL teams a chance to evaluate top prospects and serves as a venue to experiment with potential rule changes. This year, they evaluated over two dozen rule variations, from the mundane (thinner nets) to the radical (line changes only permitted on the fly, 3-on-3 overtime). While I often complain about the NHL’s rules, especially in regard to player safety, the RDO camp is a great idea more leagues should implement. Moreover, it shows a surprising open-mindedness and willingness to change by the conservative NHL establishment. So, let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly at the last RDO. Continue reading
Posted in Hockey, Innovative Ideas, Rules Analysis
Tagged 3-on-3 overtime, Adrian the Canadian, and orientation camp, Bear Hug rule, Bryan Burke, development, hockey, hockey rule change, National Hockey League, NHL, NHL RDO, no-touch icing, Penalty (ice hockey), Power play (sport), power play rule changes, power play scoring down, research, safety hockey, Short handed, sport, thinner nets, Toronto Maple Leafs