The Worst Ideas in Sports

Sean Evans@@seanseaevansContributor IIINovember 1, 2013

The Worst Ideas in Sports

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    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    In competition, there are winners and there are losers, and—often times—that sentiment transcends the playing field. From racial discrimination to criminal behavior, failure is a prevailing aspect of sports history. 

    This story, however, is less about the missteps that warrant tears and more about the ones that deserve face palms. 

    Let's begin.

Baseball Managers in Baseball Uniforms

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    What is this all about?

    Does the NBA require Erik Spoelstra to lead the Miami Heat in a form-fitting jersey and an arm sleeve? Does Bill Belichick roam the New England Patriots sideline with an extended neck roll and thigh pads? No, because that would be absurd.

    Baseball uniforms make sluggers on steroids look a little doughy, so the Tommy Lasordas of the world have no chance. Look at this guy. He looks like a sack of assorted melons.

    The most physically demanding aspect of a baseball manager's job is literally walking from the dugout to the mound. So, let's stop making them dress like they're going to pinch run.


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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    At six-years-old, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is the first movie I can remember watching. Your opinion of my unheeding parents aside, it taught me a valuable lesson about the volatility and power of machines.

    The landscape of college football's postseason is likely to change considerably over the next decade, but the binary acid trip by which we pair national championship contenders will be difficult to explain forever. 

The NBA's Microfiber Game Ball

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    Chris Birck/Getty Images

    In 2007, the NBA introduces a microfiber ball to the collective fanfare of David Stern and, like, three executives from Spalding. 

    The complaints pile up immediately and the criticism is so harsh that Stern's senseless attempt at innovation vanishes as quickly as it appeared. 

    Rest in peace you loveless, spongy globe.


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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    I don't know who made mascots a thing, but I hope they're sitting in bumper to bumper traffic with a stomach virus right now.

    From shattering backboards to getting into full-blown brawls, these foam padded maniacs are an absolute liability. 

Taxpayer Funded Stadiums

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    Jason Arnold/Getty Images

    If you're the fabulously wealthy owner of a major sports team, then having someone else pay for your own personal money-printing factory is a great idea.

    But if you're a browbeaten everyman *raises hand*, fitting the bill for a stadium is a lot less compelling. 

"The Decision"

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    During his much ballyhooed free agency, LeBron James proclaims that he's, "taking [his] talents to South Beach," during an hour-long special on ESPN.

    As Cleveland reels from its nationally televised uppercut to the groin, James smiles in a director's chair.

    Ultimately, "The Decision" is a blueprint of how unchecked egotism can wreak havoc on an athlete's Q Score. 

Taunting Penalties That Negate Touchdowns

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    As my boss touched on earlier this week, the NFL needs to pump the brakes on policing bravado, however flagrant it may be.

    If a player wants to turn the final 20 yards of a touchdown run into a shameless display of self aggrandizing hubris, just throw a flag and move on. 

Expanding the NBA Playoffs to 16 Teams

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    When more teams are included in the postseason than not, by definition, some of those teams are below average.

    As long as your favorite NBA team doesn’t suck appallingly bad, it'll get into the playoffs. And the whole five and a half month ordeal really just determines which team gets an extra home game in a seven game series.

    Don't get me wrong, 40 games in 40 nights is a lot of fun to watch, but it effectually renders the first 2,460 games meaningless. 

Thursday Night Football

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Besides being ugly, turnover-ridden slop fests, Thursday Night Football games typically vaunt match ups that are more one-sided than a Syrian presidential election.

    Roger Goodell, we get it. We're a slave to the almighty pigskin and its fantasy football implications, but you don't have to rub it in our faces like this.

Disco Demolition Night, 10 Cent Beer and Vuvuzelas

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    If you're confused by the headline, this slide is all about ill-conceived promotional nights. 

    Specifically, the Chicago White Sox's decision to let Steve Dahl trigger an on-field riot, the Cleveland Indians' decision to rebrand their stadium as an anything goes biker bar and the Florida Marlins' decision to give away 15,000 eardrum shattering vuvuzelas.

    Sometimes you're just better off sticking to bobble heads and branded tote bags.

The “One and Done” Rule

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The spirit of the "one and done" rule is admirable, but it's so naive. Forcing a semester's worth of general education classes down an athlete's throat isn't going to inspire a more scholarly pursuit than slam dunks. That's not a shot at athletes, either. For many people, freshman year is a beer bong-laden afterthought in our lives. Right? No? Me neither.

    Ultimately, the rule provides an opportunity for said athlete to get injured (Nerlens Noel) or to crater the program by running afoul of the NCAA Rules Committee (O.J. Mayo).

    Additionally, it takes a year of valuable earning potential away from a person who's lucky to have a five-year career. 

Giving the Ball to Larry Czonka

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    With a 17-12 lead and less than 30 seconds remaining, all the New York Giants need to do is take a knee and collect their sixth win of the 1978 season.

    Instead, Giants offensive coordinator Bob Gibson calls a run play to Larry Czonka.

    During the play, Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik muffs the exchange with Czonka and the ball ends up on the turf. Eagles defensive back Herm Edwards recovers the fumble and returns it for a touchdown. 

    Giving the ball to Czonka wasn't always a mistake. But in this particular instance, the Giants would have been wise to sit on the ball.

Michael Jordan's Career Change

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    Jim Gund/Getty Images

    Can you imagine LeBron James bolting Miami to ground into double plays for the Akron Aeros? 

    In 1994—long before Twitter could shame him into changing his mind—Michael Jordan leaves a Bulls dynasty in the Windy City to play AA baseball in the Chicago White Sox organization.

    As it turns out, contriving your own ham-fisted pipe dream isn't as easy as it sounds, especially when you have the hitting acumen of Billy Crystal on muscle relaxers.

The FoxTrax Glow Puck

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    The most laughably bad decisions are made when marketing professionals try to appeal to the teenage demographic. 

    In 1996, the NHL and Fox introduce FoxTrax, an electronically altered puck that turns hockey into an on-ice phaser battle between Romulans and skate adorned members of the Federation starship.

    Attention NHL, your fan base is all about fistfights and playing through shattered eye sockets. Did you really think this Sega Dreamcast nonsense stood a chance?

Bringing Guns to the Workplace

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    You don't need to be a thigh muscle on Plaxico Burress to know that athletes and guns mix about as well as bourbon and fireworks. 

    As a member of the Washington Wizards in 2009, Gilbert Arenas responds to a gambling dispute by bringing four guns to the locker room along with a note to Javaris Crittenton asking him to "Pick 1."

    Arenas claims that the stunt is more jestful than threatening, but the subtleties are lost on league commissioner David Stern, who ultimately suspended Agent Zero for a year.