Also, pretty much every sport is a bunch of track and field athletes playing a game with an arbitrary set of gimmicky rules. That the rules can change doesn't mean it's not a sport. I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.
What I mean is that there's basically a spectrum of sports "purity" (for lack of of a better term), with "pure" sports that really can't be changed in any way shape or form on one end, and "gimmick" sports on the other that can be, and are, changed drastically.
Soccer is probably the most pure team sport there is. It has very few rules to begin with, and even fewer possible rule changes that would result in only a tweak to the game rather than an existential shift. Offsides, the size of the box, pk kicks, the number of players on the field. . . that's basically all you could do to tweak soccer. Any other rule change you could possibly think of for soccer would be so drastic that it would essentially turn it into a different sport.
Football is the complete opposite, and this is evidenced by the fact that it easily has the largest rulebook of any sport and is constantly changing those rules. You can make drastic, gimmicky changes to football while still calling it football, because the rules are completely arbitrary to begin with.
The rules of soccer exist to define what soccer is, and most changes would change the inherent nature of the sport--its very DNA. The rules of football exist to constantly conform the sport to consumer demand. Fans like offense and passing? Tighten the pass interference rules. Quarterbacks are the biggest stars in the sport? Change the rules about how they can be hit. The violence of the game is threatening its future survival? No problem, we can just eliminate something that's been a central aspect of the game for about as long as it's existed.
Baseball, basketball, and hockey are in the middle, with baseball much closer to the soccer end than the other two. There are very few rules you can change in baseball before you start existentially transforming it into a different game. In fact, there's really only been one rule change to baseball in the last 100 years (the DH) and it doesn't even really change how the game is fundamentally played, just alters the strategy a little and changes the personnel. Changing to aluminum bats would be the same thing: there would be more scoring and shifts in strategy, but it wouldn't be eliminating a part of the game as we know it like this proposed NFL rule does. I'm not even sure what the baseball equivalent of this rule would be, we would never contemplate changing baseball so drastically.
I just like thinking about this stuff, but I'll stop hijakcing.
Edited by Orel Miraculous, 06 December 2012 - 05:51 PM.