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Is football a more complex sport than baseball, basketball, and soccer?

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1 minute ago, animaltested said:

Wasn’t talking complexity, more so the rules impact on the fun of the game. 

Yeah.  Hybrid icing has a really minimal impact on "The Game" overall.  Most viewers don't even notice  I didn't mean that as a point of contention really.  Just that...hockey does have some weird and complicated rules of its own, and totally uneven enforcement thereof.  Just like "complicated" football.

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20 minutes ago, animaltested said:

that’s just one example. And some dudes are so locked in or have such electric stuff they don’t NEED to “play the game within the game” all that much. 
And this does happen in football, especially between OC and DCs. 

That makes sense, but that’s why I tried outlining that all of these sports have a game within a game. When we consider that a picture generally has x number of pitches in his arsenal that he’s good at throwing and we factor in his seasonal/game tendencies as you mentioned above that extrapolates and parallels to like you said the OC/DC but also your cerebral QB and the opposing green dot user. I mean Peyton Manning vs Ray Lewis had some of the most intense “games within a game” we’ve ever seen on a football field... only it involves 10 other guys on their respective side of the ball... balancing protections, shifting the coverages, motioning a WR for a better route release.

I understand that at every peak level the difficult far exceeds the basic levels for sure. I’m just not sure how each of those scenarios are presented in other sports as well. That said I do greatly appreciate your breakdown.

3 hours ago, Tetsujin said:

I'll partly explain what makes baseball the deepest, most complex, strategic sport- specifically no DH baseball:

Remember, once you take a player out, you can't put him back in. That alone makes it complex.

- Your pitcher doing OK, but he's due up in the lineup soon and you're losing in the 6th inning. Do you pull him for a DH?

- Which relief pitcher do you go with? Are they facing the top, middle, or bottom of the order? Can you get away with putting your worst RP out there for awhile? 

- Do you play the numbers or the lefty-righty hitter/pitcher matchup?

- Are you playing a game the next day? In MLB you play all but 3-4 days a month. How do you manage workloads?

- If it's a 3 game series, you shouldn't have RHP's starting every game. You need to throw in a LHP to change the look up.

- Do you try to steal a base? How many outs is there? Who's at bat and who's due up?

- When do you bunt or sacrifice?

- Lefthanders don't/can't play 3B, SS, 2B, and usually catcher. However, they're ideal at 1B.

- Pulling a "double-switch" 

- Do you pitch around a hitter, or go after them? How many outs is there? Who's at bat and who's due up? Who's on base already?

- Do you shift fielders? Do you protect the baselines? Do you hold runners on base?

- What pitches does a pitcher have in his aresenal? What's the hitters strengths and weaknesses?

- What happened the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd times the hitters faced the starting pitcher? Are they getting wise to him?

- Do you throw the obvious 0-2 outpitch, or go for the kill?

That's just some of what I can think of. There's a lot of games within the game.

I can go down the line and the vast majority of these aspects are present in basketball and football. I will leave soccer to someone who follows it more. But the game between a pitcher and batter is analogous in football to a OC/DC or a QB/GD user. In basketball it’s analogous to a great offensive scorer and great defender on every series.

In terms of removing a player, that’s complicated but it’s analogous to a player with multiple fouls in the NBA... do you keep/put him back in and risk further foul trouble, do you risk his passive defensive play leading to uncontested baskets be the opposing offensive player (who knows he has an extensive advantage over the opposition).

Basketball has less games but still has a ton of games and is a more physically demanding sport. So before load management was popularized, a coach still had to properly manage his players minutes for a multitude of reasons... a) if you burn out your star player against another squad, good luck in 2-3 days when you have to face another superstar led squad b) if you have a stud in your lineup once you make it to the playoffs you still need your bench players to have a good connection with your normal rotation or you risk giving up huge scoring waves or not being able to score come playoff time or tough matchup when you need to rely on their excellence for stretches of a game. c) along that note, you have to keep players confident and dialed in throughout the season and dictating where a player is on that emotional scale is another aspect that has to be weighed as it’s an 82 game season and you never know when injuries could pile up.

The way you defend a left handed player is essentially forcing you to flip everything you’re comfortable with on its head leading to slower reaction times and thus studying tendencies would be even more important so as not to get embarrassed.

I gave a bit more of a football perspective elsewhere in this thread so I won’t break that down again. But there’s tons more to basketball that I haven’t covered here either.

I will however say that the “game within a game” aspect has somewhat been lessened after Steph Curry‘s cultural impact on the game of basketball. It was much more complex prior to that during the Kobe era of basketball as all three levels were most utilized during this era and thus presented more complex scenarios for defenders to have to dictate; whereas in other eras it was far more two dimensional between mid-range game and low post/paint with little emphasis on the 3-ball OR paint scoring along with shooting 3s with the mid range game being considered incredibly inefficient and not utilized (which the increased simplicity of the game has made me less inclined to watch)... but I also don’t watch baseball either for largely similar reasons. Football has been the only one that has held up from a strategic POV in my eyes (but that’s where my bias comes into play so I’ll concede that point I suppose). 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, animaltested said:

I’ll try:

A Good example is batter vs pitcher. The higher level you go, the less “see ball hit ball” you can do. Instead it’s all about balancing tendencies, situations, game flow, and prior knowledge. As a batter, you first need to figure out what type of pitch is coming. At high levels you just cannot read and react reliably. This is where prior knowledge and tendencies come in. What is the pitchers out pitch? Where are they most comfortable putting the ball? What is the count? What has the pitcher been doing all game vs what they have been doing all year. Based on this you will lock into a section of the zone. Now where the “game within a game“ comes from is the pitcher KNOWS this. They know the batter is thinking the exact thing they are. They go through the same thought process. The batter KNOWS the pitcher knows they know, and has to consider that as well. As a result you get essentially that scene from The Princess Bride every at bat.


that’s just one example. And some dudes are so locked in or have such electric stuff they don’t NEED to “play the game within the game” all that much. 
And this does happen in football, especially between OC and DCs. 

 

Don't know what this guy is talking about hitting a baseball at the highest level is pretty easy all you need is a camera a broom and a trash can. 

Edited by BaltimoreTerp

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6 hours ago, Tetsujin said:

The original rule was you couldn't really move while holding the ball. It was all passing. Dribbling was the way around that rule.

Completely forgot all about this!

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On 5/22/2020 at 5:50 PM, warrenblue said:

Nah. As a non-american I'd say baseball is way more complex than football.

The differences between a standard 4-3 Cover 2 and a 4-3 Tampa Cover 2 are more complex than the majority of defensive schemes in baseball. 

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8 hours ago, Heinz D. said:

The differences between a standard 4-3 Cover 2 and a 4-3 Tampa Cover 2 are more complex than the majority of defensive schemes in baseball. 

Then you have cover 1,2,3,4, strait man, prevent... Are we talking, 3-4, 4-3 maybe diamond? Are we in nickel, big nickel, dime, quarter? Maybe we are in goal line. Who are we taking out when we go nickel, a dl or a lb? And that is what I would call the layman's version of defense.

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Posted (edited)

I find baseball and possibly rugby more complicated as a viewer

 

However, there can't be anything more complex in sport (actually ALL sport, not just American sports) than learning and confidently calling a playbook with all the codes etc. I don't think that exists anywhere to that extent.

 

Soccer is so easy, that's why it's the most popular. All you need is something to make a ball out of, your t-shirts for posts, and away you go.

Edited by Hunter2_1

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22 hours ago, AlexGreen#20 said:

I feel like the fact that baseball can be so neatly broken down into statistics is an argument against it's complexity. 

Eh I can understand that feeling but I disagree. The statistics work so well due to the very clearly defined play outcomes in baseball, which would support your feeling. But my point is less about the simple statistics like batting average or OBP. But the stats definitely start to get more complicated for your average sports fan once you get past that and you get in sabermetrics and WAR, xWOBA, FIP, xFIP, OPS+, etc

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19 minutes ago, Spartica4Real said:

Eh I can understand that feeling but I disagree. The statistics work so well due to the very clearly defined play outcomes in baseball, which would support your feeling. But my point is less about the simple statistics like batting average or OBP. But the stats definitely start to get more complicated for your average sports fan once you get past that and you get in sabermetrics and WAR, xWOBA, FIP, xFIP, OPS+, etc

Yes, and the fact you can't make the equivalent of those seats in football due to 22 people having an impact on one play as opposed to 3 is exactly the reason that football is more complicated. 

Various attempts to create WAR for football have failed because separating the value of a running back from the value of the offensive line on a run play has proven to be an impossibility. Same goes with passing plays. 

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I started watching football as an adult, after groing up playing (at different levels), soccer (mainly) with some basketball, handball and volleyball mixed in. 

One of the things that attracted me to football was the complexity. It really feeds into my geeky/over thinking side. 

With that said, I think handball and basketball and volleyball are much more simple, just because of the lack of variation caused by the limited number of players, in comparison. 

Football on the other hand, involves 3 teams with a lot of specialization, but it's a bit limited by the non continuous flow of play. 

Soccer is a mix of both worlds, offering the variability and complexity, while keeping the flow continuous, which allows a lot more variation. 

The definition of complexity is very much limited by your familiarity and own definition. 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, kramxel said:I started watching football as an adult, after groing up playing (at different levels), soccer (mainly) with some basketball, handball and volleyball mixed in. 

One of the things that attracted me to football was the complexity. It really feeds into my geeky/over thinking side. 

With that said, I think handball and basketball and volleyball are much more simple, just because of the lack of variation caused by the limited number of players, in comparison. 

Football on the other hand, involves 3 teams with a lot of specialization, but it's a bit limited by the non continuous flow of play. 

Soccer is a mix of both worlds, offering the variability and complexity, while keeping the flow continuous, which allows a lot more variation. 

The definition of complexity is very much limited by your familiarity and own definition. 

 

 

Yes, you get it! The refs are their own team.

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On 5/22/2020 at 6:50 PM, warrenblue said:

Nah. As a non-american I'd say baseball is way more complex than football.

To me, to explain baseball and all its nuances to a person with zero knowledge to the sport is really hard. It's much easier to explain football. 

This is how I felt 4+ years ago when I dove head first into Australian Rules Football.  It has quickly moved up the charts as my favorite game to follow.  Hell, it even "compelled" me to start a podcast about the game.

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12 hours ago, AlexGreen#20 said:

Yes, and the fact you can't make the equivalent of those seats in football due to 22 people having an impact on one play as opposed to 3 is exactly the reason that football is more complicated. 

Various attempts to create WAR for football have failed because separating the value of a running back from the value of the offensive line on a run play has proven to be an impossibility. Same goes with passing plays. 

It reads like you're arguing with me but I don't think you really are. In my original post I said football was both the most complicated to play and to watch for someone new. So yes 22 people having an impact on a play compared to 3 makes it what? More complicated to play. And more complicated to watch. 

All I said was baseball has more advanced statistics which are harder to keep up with for the average sports fan than football stats. The fact that these stats don't exist for football supports my point as well, which was just baseball having more advanced and complicated statistics than football and thus being more in depth and complicated for those average sports fans.

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A sport's complexity is equivalent to the age a child can start playing it. The earlier a child can follow and participate, the simpler a sport. However, there are certain categories they all fall into. 

Simplest: all racing sports. 

Very simple: combat sports (boxing, MMA). 

Simple: ball goes in goal sports (soccer, basketball, hockey, golf). 

Moderate: ball sport with more abstract rules (baseball, cricket, tennis). 

Moderately complex: aesthetic sports with judges (figure skating, gymnastics, diving) 
- Also combat sports with points system.

Complex: Football. 

 

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8 hours ago, AngusMcFife said:

A sport's complexity is equivalent to the age a child can start playing it. The earlier a child can follow and participate, the simpler a sport. However, there are certain categories they all fall into. 

Simplest: all racing sports. 

Very simple: combat sports (boxing, MMA). 

Simple: ball goes in goal sports (soccer, basketball, hockey, golf). 

Moderate: ball sport with more abstract rules (baseball, cricket, tennis). 

Moderately complex: aesthetic sports with judges (figure skating, gymnastics, diving) 
- Also combat sports with points system.

Complex: Football. 

 

Rules based basketball doesn’t actually get played until kids are 7-9, 5 is the earliest for a non rules based league.

Baseball however, kids have little leagues that start as low as 3-4 years of age.

Soccer with one of the easiest barriers to entry is at 3 years old along with a few others.

Quote

These days you can sign up your toddler for soccer, swimming, gymnastics, karate, dance, even rugby

https://www.parenting.com/activities/sports/toddler-sports/

Basketball generally requires too much coordination and cognitive understanding for rules that make the barrier of entry for a young kid too difficult. It’s much easier to say “you can’t touch the ball with your hands” than “You can’t touch the ball with your feet, but you also can’t move while holding the ball, you can move by dribbling the ball, but not after you’ve picked up the ball to hold it.”

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