Measuring a Sport’s Goodness

Last night, younger child and I were watching a little bit of the Michigan State-Duke basketball game. The roundball doesn’t make it on to our television that often, so he wasn’t super familiar with the score bug for a basketball game.

“Dad, what are those circles by the team names?”

“That shows how many timeouts they have.”

“Why are there more than for football?”

“It’s easier in football to make changes because they stop a lot more during the game. So they don’t need as many timeouts. Also hockey only has one because it’s the best sport.”

Boy oh boy was I onto something. My thoroughly researched findings suggest the more timeouts you have, the worse/more boring your sport is. For the sake of simplicity, I just took the four major sports leagues in the US of A.

Timeouts – Least to Most

NHL – One (1) 30 second timeout for the entire game.

NFL – Three (3) per half, they do not carry over. Two (2) additional timeouts for overtime.

NBA – Seven (7) total timeouts, unused timeouts carry over from the first half. This includes two (2) mandatory timeouts in each period. There are two (2) additional timeouts in overtime.

MLB – Five (5) mound visits are allowed per game. Seemingly unlimited (∞) “timeouts” by a batter.

Sports – Best/Fun to Worst/Boring

#1 – Hockey/NHL

#2 – Football/NFL

#3 or 4 – Basketball/NBA

#4 or 3 – *Baseball/MLB

So there you have it. Baseball and basketball are essentially a toss up depending on how you interpret their respective timeout situations. I think we can all agree baseball is at it’s worst when there are more stoppages, so I feel confident in my assessment.

*Baseball and softball are not the same thing. Softball is much more interesting than baseball.

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