How pro sports have changed from the 1990’s to the present: Good or Bad?

Here we’ll be comparing American pro sports now, and 20 years ago.

Let’s start with Football.

In the days of Barry Sanders and Dan Marino, football was considered a “man’s game.”  The famous rivalry games like Steelers vs. Ravens were dirty, hard hitting, and unforgiving matchups.  There were no glue-like gloves or concussion helmets or coaching headsets.  It makes players jobs today look like a day on the beach!

A new rule was added in the NFL this year that makes you ask what it’s all coming to.  The PAT (Point After Touchdown) ball spot was moved from the 2 yard line to the fifteen.  This may not seem like a big deal, but the point was to make it more challenging to top off a touchdown drive with the traditional 7 points.

In the past five years, a rule was made to move the kickoff spot from the 30 to the 35 yard line.  The idea here was to cut down on injuries caused by kickoff returns.

Little things like these have changed the game in the eyes of many.

As these new rules may seem unneeded, we have to look at the benefits.  “Safety first” is always a good policy and more suspense for the fans can never hurt.  But is it actually helping or hurting the game of football?


Baseball has always been a game of inches.  Except now things are even more precise, as instant replay has made the difference in numerous calls since it was implemented into the game.  It helps umpires determine if a home run went over the fence or not, or if the runner’s hand beat the tag to second.  At first glance it seems like the best addition to baseball this century, but it makes you wonder where the old game went…

Since its creation, baseball has been about trickery.  Hidden ball tricks, cleating, and the good old spit-ball are things officials are trying to permanently wash away.  If the notoriously controversial Kent Hrbek vs. Ron Gant play had happened today, who knows what the call would’ve been…

Also, league officials are pushing new rules to speed up the game.  Apparently, fans who spend hundreds of dollars on tickets don’t want to watch a standard length baseball game.

For details on these new rules you can check out this article by Tim Casey and Seth Berkman.

It is hard to believe that all these changes can be made in 20 years to a game that has virtually stayed the same for well over a century.


The starry-eyed kids, growing up watching Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, are now the Lebron James’ and Kevin Durant’s of today’s game.  No more short shorts or cheesy mustaches, instead we have custom-made mouthguards and compression arm sleeves.  Once a game of putting the ball in the basket, is now about ankle-breakers and step back three’s.

Basketball has mostly changed in the way fans see the game.  Commercials and Pre-Game shows are mostly to thank for stereotyping the pro game into a rapping, backstreet baller atmosphere.

Of course it isn’t hard to see that the before stated could merely be a difference in generations, though it is rather dramatic.



Sports in general have taken a much more technical turn in the past 20 years.  As mentioned before, nearly every sport now has some form of instant replay.  This dramatically changes the results of games.  But to be fair, this and most other changes are made simply for the cause of industry.

But in the end, nearly all of the new rules and regulations only hamper the progress  of the games themselves.  It’s like taking a drug to cure one ailment, only to bring on loads of other problems.  We need to leave the games the way they are and only change them when the game itself needs it;  not for fans, money, or player preference.

Featured image by Unsplash
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