What if All North American Sports Had Power Plays?

We’re having hockey withdrawals at Jockstrap Journal so we asked ourselves, what if the other three North American sports had power plays? The ‘Strap’s Luca Lu debates… with none other than himself. And to be honest, it’s breathtaking.

Basketball’s version of the power play is a free throw. A player gets fouled and he goes to the line for a couple of easy buckets. Every guy has a different style when they shoot free throws; some guys even do it underhand. Heck, we’ve learned to love free throws. If basketball added a power play, it would have to be added to the free-throw tradition, rather than replace it. Right now I’m picturing an inbound pass, stolen by James Harden, nothing between him and a monstrous dunk at the other end of the court. Then, all of a sudden, Serge Ibaka grabs him by the shoulder and tosses him to the court. Technical. So Harden goes to the line and we, the fans, miss out on the thunderous jam that we love so much.

It doesn’t have to be that way…

Let’s give the Rockets a power play. Harden makes his free throws and then the Rockets play some 5 on 4 ball for a couple (literally two) minutes. Without a power forward, the Thunder can’t stop the Rockets so we fans are treated to some NBA Street worthy alley-oop action, which more than makes up for the dunk we missed when Harden was initially fouled.

For the defense you’re working twice as hard to make stops burning twice as much energy. On offense you have nothing but 5 on 4 fast breaks and the opportunity for some highlight-reel material.

Norichika Aoki

When applied to Baseball, a power play is given when a batter is hit by a pitch. Because everything in baseball needs to have a strategic component the manager can choose to use the power play offensively by having the defense short one position in the field (same as the guy who got hit) or defensively by passing to pitch to the other team’s best hitter.

Here’s the situation. Robinson Cano is hit by a warp-speed Max Scherzer fastball; the Yankees eventually use their power play to avoid facing Miguel Cabrera in the bottom of the inning.

Joey Votto is plunked by a hanging Matt Harvey curveball. Jay Bruce comes up with runners in scoring position and the Reds use their power play to sit a Mets defensive player. Coach gives the word and the Reds are facing a two-person outfield. This is where a strikeout becomes a game breaker.

Sometimes one team will get flagged for a “12 men on the field penalty” in Football. I consider that a reverse power play. An actual power play would be when one team has 10 men on the field and the other has the full 11. Every penalty is a power play, while the more violent penalties are power plays + yards.

Aaron Rodgers rolls right and hits an open Randall Cobb for a 20-yard completion. BUT WAIT. Rodgers is pummeled by Patrick Willis after the throw. Sorry Pat, take a seat. The Packers get another 10 yards for the penalty plus a power play that lasts four downs. If they get it down to the goal line in two plays they’ll have two more on the power play plus there’s a chance for another penalty and an even more severe 11-on-9 advantage.

On defense, the power play is a generator of sacks and turnovers. J.J. Watt chases Peyton Manning towards the sideline and is blocked in the back by Demaryius Thomas. Thomas is out the next play so the Texans blitz a cornerback. Montee Ball slides over to block before the corner can sack Pey-Pey. Meanwhile, Watt swims through the o-line and instead of being blocked by Ball, he’s locked in on Manning. BOOM. Sack, fumble, Texans football.

In the end, more power plays means more highlight reels and crazy bullshit. Who doesn’t want that? If my favorite team has a power play, I am watching that. I don’t care if my phone rings, my baby cries, or my house is on fire, IT’S A POWER PLAY! Nothing else matters until it’s over because SOMETHING EXCITING is going to happen… NHL is back October 1st.

We haven’t been this excited since…