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In which we praise the merits of soccer's stoppage time

POSTED: June 25, 2014 12:30 p.m.
Joel Samuelson, Lory Kaun/

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It was a rough weekend for fans of the United States Men’s National Soccer Team. After carrying a 2-1 lead into the 90’ minute of Sunday evening’s World Cup game, which would have propelled a victorious US team into the knock-out round, Portugal received a breath of life in the form of four minutes of stoppage time. 

With that added bonus time, Portugal was able to pull off the tying goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Americans love to gripe about sports and the outcome of sporting events, and many Americans love to gripe about soccer in general even more, but please hold on. Just wait a second, okay?

We should be excited about what happened Sunday in the World Cup. We should embrace stoppage time goals that dramatically alter the outcome of games and potentially the tournament as a whole.

Or imagine if this had happened in a knock-out game and had forced extra periods or even penalty kicks? How exciting!

You see, Americans love to say that soccer isn't exciting enough. Where's the scoring? Where are the goals? How can a game end in a tie? How can you win 1-0? 

Despite the fact that baseball is also known as a low-scoring game by those standards, and it's America's pastime, we love to complain that soccer doesn't have enough scoring.

But we got it, didn't we? The officials felt like we needed four more minutes to make up for any stoppage of play (oh, that's where they get that name from) in the second half. 

I say hooray for subjective clocks. Good on you, soccer officials.

When the game ends, it shouldn't really end. And there's no way it would be easier to just stop the clock when action stops. Sure, they stop play and all the players just wait for the game to get going anyway, but Heaven forbid we stop the clock, too.

And sometimes, when we get stoppage time, we get major stoppage time goals. Even a minute after stoppage time should have ended anyway. 

I love this idea that we can just extend the clock in certain sporting events if we want to, so I gave it some thought. What if we went back and added time to some other exciting sporting events throughout history?

Did you watch the 2012 SEC Championship football game? Sure you did. It was a classic, but it could have been improved with just an extra two minutes or so. Maybe even ten seconds. 

Surely the clock was a little slow to stop on a few plays early in the game, right? I'm sure there were at least ten seconds that could have been added on.

What about this past year's Iron Bowl? Sure, Auburn scored in literally the last second and spawned a tireless catch-phrase, but what if the refs had said Alabama had one more snap of the ball? Or two?

Surely we could've seen another classic play, right?

Here's one. What about the 2008 Super Bowl between New England and the New York Giants? Shouldn't Tom Brady and company have had a little more time to answer the Giants' late touchdown for the sake of perserving their perfect season?

Some sporting events just don't end the way they really should. America didn't deserve to win Sunday, so the officials rightly gave Portugal plenty of time to rectify that ghastly potential outcome. Can you imagine if the game had actually ended at 90 minutes? Perish the thought!

I, for one, hope Roger Gooddell and the NCAA come together and adopt this idea of stoppage time for American football. When the clock runs out, let's put more time on there to get the outcome we really want. 

Which sporting event do you think we should go back and add time to? Is there a World Series Game 7 you think deserves an extra inning? Would you like the Braves to get a fourth or fifth out in that 2012 Wild Card game? 

I am glad that we saw a tie in Sunday's game. It was truly the right outcome, and hopefully we'll give Germany an extra 10 minutes or more should they need it on Thusrsday.

Dear friends and readers, thank you for accepting my modest proposal, and I surely hope we can see swift adoption of these ideas all across America's sports.



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