Geez, Nick. You were doing so well keeping your opinions about the 10-second rule to yourself. And then you had to go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like this:
“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What’s the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there’s no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.’”
Nice tortured analogy. However, if you really want to go there, shouldn’t you apply the same logic to the effect of schedule expansion? In the last two decades or so, the regular season has gotten longer and most conferences have added a championship game. And now, the postseason is embarking on an expansion kick. Starting this season, an Alabama team that plays for the national title after winning the SECCG will be hitting and tackling opponents for the fifteenth time. That’s a 25% increase from the early nineties, assuming bowl eligibility.
Funny how Saban has nothing to say about that.
And unlike the up-tempo stuff, there may be some relevant data out there about schedule size. Per Dave Bartoo,
In the 2013, 133k play FBS season, 526 guys were lost for the year during the season to injury. In the 32 team, 16 game, 32k plays NFL it was 205 season ending injuries. OR season ending injuries during the season occurred 162% more often per play in the NFL than FBS. OR one SEI in the NFL every 156 plays to 253 on the FBS.
The NFL doesn’t have a pace problem. Even Saban acknowledges that. What it does have is a longer season. While I won’t insist correlation equals causation, that’s not the banner of logic ol’ Nick’s marching under here.
Saban is as calculating a man as you’ll find. I don’t take this as some sort of irrational outburst. It indicates two things to me – one, that the rule proposal is a big deal for him, and, two, that he’s concerned it won’t pass. He’s playing the player safety card because it’s the way to get a change in the rule this season and because it’s easier to generate support for this than it is for a debate over tactics.
What I can’t figure out are his motives. Why the rush? I have a hard time believing he’s that insecure about defending HUNH offenses. He’s smart and his program recruits better than any other in the country. Something doesn’t add up.
Not to mention he’s handing Alabama’s biggest rival a most handy club to bash him with on the recruiting trail.
“It’s a joke, is what it is,” Jacobs said in an interview with AL.com this week. “Everything’s going faster in sports. You get penalized if you don’t play fast enough in golf. Now you’ve got pitch counts in baseball to throw a pitch. And to think we’re slowing something down without any data is just ridiculous to me. The thing about it is, kids today, they love playing in this hurry-up type offense because it’s fun. So if you like to have fun, you need to go to a place like Auburn.”
Is it just about screwing with what Auburn does? You got me.
UPDATE: Jon Solomon makes a similar point, with a twist.
… There are potentially more meaningful, under-the-radar ways than the 10-second rule to help player safety.
1. Reduce the number of games.
Good luck seeing that happen. That would be one less home game for schools to generate revenue. But it’s the easiest and simplest way to guarantee fewer hits to a player during the course of a season and his career. Saban, who wants to reduce the exposure for players, is the loudest proponent for a ninth conference game in the SEC, which is considered the most physically-demanding conference.
When Florida State won the national championship in 1999, the Seminoles played 12 total games the whole season. The Seminoles played 14 games last season to win the national title. If they reach the national title game next season in the new College Football Playoff, they will have likely played 15 games.
Florida State’s offense had 15 percent more total plays in 2013 than in 1999, and the Seminoles’ defensive plays increased by 29 percent. Yet Florida State’s plays per game on offense barely moved up from 68.3 in 1999 to 68.7 in 2013. Tempo adds to more plays for many teams in football today, but not necessarily to the toll more games places on the body.
Football coaches and a handful of conferences (the ACC was one) lobbied against 12 games when the change occurred in 2005. More leagues (including the ACC) have added conference championship games since then. Not to mention, what about the exposure to hits that overmatched teams face against elite teams due to more guarantee games being added by an extra game?
The maximum number of games most college football players in the early 2000s could have played over a four-year career was 48. Starting next season, the four-year maximum will be 60. College football’s hunt for money means up to an entire regular season could be added onto players’ bodies over the course of their career. [Emphasis added.]
One thing more important than player safety is bank balance stability.