10. Only One Foot Down for a Complete Pass (NCAA Football) - With the complete integration between college football and the NFL, why not have college receivers abide by the same reception rules so they can start working on getting both feet down years earlier? Catches where both feet land in-bounds are much more dramatic anyway (like Santonio Holmes' game winning TD in the Super Bowl).
9. Maintain Possession Through the Catch, Even Out of Bounds (NFL) - A receiver cuts towards the sideline, catches the ball while dragging both toes, then when he falls and hits the ground out-of-bounds the ball pops loose. No catch. Why not? He had possession when he was still in-bounds and what happens after that shouldn't matter, the same way there's an invisible plane at the end zone and whether the player loses possession or not after the nose of the ball crosses that plane doesn't matter because it's already a touchdown. Too many deserving catches have been negated.
8. Offensive Interference vs. Defensive Interference (NFL) - So a quarterback can chuck the ball 50 yards down field and if a defender holds the receiver they get the ball at the spot of the foul, yet if a receiver holds the defender to prevent an interception it's only a 15-yard penalty? This seems unbalanced, although the recent change to interference only being called if the ball was already in the air (otherwise it's just defensive holding) is a step in the right direction.
7. Trapezoid Behind the Net Rule (NHL) - This is where the goaltender can only play the puck within a specific area behind the net or in front of the goal line. But why? If the goaltender is leaving the net unguarded and has good puck handling skills, why not let him go where he wants? I say let him take the risk.
6. Ineligible Receivers (NFL) - Why can't the quarterback throw the ball to anyone on his team? I have yet to hear a scenario that justifies this rule in which my response is not, "well then the defense will have to prepare for that just like with any trick play."
5. The Tuck Rule (NFL) - While it makes sense that if the quarterback is attempting to make a pass and his arm is moving forward he can't fumble the ball, if he's trying to hold onto it and gets hit why should this be considered an incomplete pass? This rule was obviously made famous during the 2001 AFC Championship game when the Raiders knocked the ball lose from Tom Brady, but the truth is it's a horrible example of the tuck rule being enforced because the fumble should have been a moot point considering Brady was illegally hit in the head during the play anyway (sorry Raiders fans, it's true, just watch the replay a few times). Why no one ever seems to remember this detail is beyond me. Even so, the tuck rule remains convoluted and needs to be eliminated.
4. No Official Clock (Soccer) - The game is nearing the 90th minute of action and as the clock finally ticks down... everyone keeps playing. How much longer will it last? Only the referee knows, as he extends the match based on the amount of delayed action during regulation time. Why they can't keep track of this and broadcast the time in-sync with the ref's clock is dumbfounding. It wouldn't exactly require a technological miracle to fix this, or just stop the play clock during delays like in every other sport.
3. Down Without Contact (NCAA Football) - A player is in the open field with the ball and trips and falls to the ground without even being touched by the opposing team. Even in flag football he'd be allowed to get back up and keep running, but in college football he's down for good and the play is over. Why?
2. Red Card = Man Down for Remainder of Game (Soccer) - This one borders on a format complaint, but it's so irritating I'm keeping it on the list. While most sports allow the umpire or ref to eject a player based on his conduct, only in soccer is that player's team forced to play the rest of the game with one less player on the field. As a result, many games are completely ruined based on a judgment call from the ref, which is often questionable. It's one thing to lose one of your best players for the game, it's an entirely different situation to be down a player for the rest of the game (unless a player on the other team gets a red card, of course). Why not enforce a 5-minute power play like in hockey, at which point a different player can take the carded player's place on the field? I doubt many sports enthusiasts would object to seeing more games decided by the athletes instead of the refs.
1. Batter May Advance on a Wild Pitch Strikeout (MLB) - So the batter swings and misses for strike three at a pitch so bad the catcher can't even hang onto the ball, and he's then rewarded with the opportunity to run to first base? Who thought this rule made sense to begin with and why has it not been changed? If the batter struck out, he should be out regardless of what happens after that.
Oddly, no rules from the NBA made this list, as the problem with that league has more to do with the guys calling the rules than the actual rule book. What do you think are the dumbest rules in sports (other than golf) that I may have left out? Share your thoughts in the comments below.