The hazard of nostalgia is it methods you into believing there’s a proper manner for issues to be, relatively than only a manner issues have been. Milk ought to are available bottles. Kids ought to stare open-mouthed at a tv display screen, not open-mouthed at YouTube. The F.A. Cup ought to imply one thing.
We must always not, then, fall into that entice when asking if there are, now, too many penalties in soccer. The uncooked info of the matter are simple: There are extra penalties than there was. Within the first decade or so of the Premier League, someplace between 60 and 70 spot kicks have been awarded every season.
Since 2006, that quantity has been drifting within the common path of upward: into the 80s, the 90s after which, final season, to 124. That may be a important change: There at the moment are virtually twice as many as there was; or, to place it into context, a penalty is now awarded roughly as soon as each three video games, relatively than as soon as each six.
Whether or not that’s good, dangerous or detached relies upon, actually, on style. It’s actually not essentially the case that 60 penalties a season is the suitable quantity. To youthful viewers, it might appear far too few. To a lot older ones, it in all probability appeared too many. There may be, in actuality, no Goldilocks quantity, no candy spot, no goal fact.
What we are able to say, with some certainty, is that such a steep improve within the variety of penalties implies that the sport itself is now recognizably totally different. The frequency with which penalties are awarded implies that gamers have modified the best way they behave within the penalty space. Groups assault in such a manner as to make a penalty extra probably. Defenders discover themselves constricted as to how they could do their jobs. All of those adjustments, for sure, profit the groups that assault essentially the most.
The deception of nostalgia implies that it’s troublesome to say, with any certainty, that one thing should be achieved concerning the rise in penalties. Maybe the sport is healthier this fashion, not worse. But it surely does appear that, at the very least in some circumstances, the punishment not matches the crime.