Sporting dominance that caused the game to be changed

Basketball underwent a similar offensive retrenchment during this same time period, tho I don’t think it was in reaction against any specific team (the Bulls? Magic’s Lakers?). Teams basically pulled both of their guards out of the offensive zone when a rebound was in the offing, forcing the other team to do a 3-on-2 fast break (at best) if they so chose, and oftentimes they didn’t (won’t), preferring to just walk it up the court instead.

More hockey -

The NJ Devils goalie Martin Brodeur (who is still playing) was so good at playing the puck in the early 1990s that he basically acted as a third defenseman, and this style of play contributed to the lack of offense in those days.

The NHL responded by creating a trapezoidal area behind the net, outside of which the goalie cannot play the puck. This is known as the Brodeur Rule

The most extreme version of the baseball shift that I can think of came during Mark McGwire’s 70 home run season, when the Astros used four outfielders and three infielders against him when the bases were empty.

Which I find bizarre, because a)Not too many other goalies even TRY it, and b) Brodeur just got to a cup final at 40, trapezoid and all.

Royce Gracie in the Ufc?

the guy was unstoppable in the early days and thanks to him you now pretty much have to know some Jujitsu to compete.

Actually, I think you might mean Darryl Dawkins and the breakaway rims but it might have changed again with Shaq. I’m not sure.

In any case, Chocolate Thunder certainly deserves a mention in this regard. He was a backboard killer.

I think that zone defenses for covering receivers in the NFL started because of Bob Hayes. Nobody could keep up with him in man to man coverage, so teams had to adapt.

That’s what I would have said, though it’s a LITTLE overstated. Zone defenses already existed before Bob Hayes came along- Hayes just made them more popular.

Not a rule change, but the Fosbury Flop changed the High Jump for ever.

I just thought of something: in the Seventies and Eighties, there were a lot of college teams with excellent place kickers (from barefoot Tony Franklin at Texas A & M to Jeff Ward of Texas). Kickers were so good that teams were regularly trying for 50-60 yard field goals, and often succeeded.

Teams rarely attempt long field goals any more, because the rules were changed. In Jeff Ward’s day, if a kicker missed a 60 yard field goal, no big deal… the opponent got the ball at the 20 yard line.

Today, if you miss a 60 yard field goal, the opponent gets the ball right where you had it. So, it’s just not worth attempting long field goals unless you’re trailing by 1-3 points with just a few seconds left in the game.

Except that the Williams shift was developed to stop Cy Williams and was used in the 1920s. Boudreau merely reused it for Ted, much like Tom Landry reused the shotgun formation.

Lester Hayes, an all-pro defensive back for the Oakland Raiders used to cover every available inch of his hands, wrists, forearms and jersey with stickum. The NFL subsequently passed the rule making it illegal to use the substance the year after he was Defensive Player of the Year.

Bob Duden, a golf professional invented a croquet mallet style putter that he used to compete on the PGA tour. Sam Snead also used it to counter the “yips.” It was extremely effective. Supposedly Bobby Jones saw Snead putting this way on a practice green and declared it unacceptable and shortly thereafter the PGA instituted the rule requiring both feet to be on the same side of the ball while putting on the green. You can still use it off the green.

Wimbledon was her first major title in two years. Compare that to 2002-03, when she won all four major titles in a row, or to the men’s circuit, where three guys have combined to win 29 of the last 30 Slam events. Tennis doesn’t need a league system because it already sort of has one. There aren’t separate leagues, but you have to work your way up in the rankings by winning points, and you get into bigger events by winning more points.

As far as baseball goes, I think we’re seeing more shifts and altered defensive aligments than ever. With some hitters it doesn’t reflect dominance so much as it reflects the fact that teams are able to more effectively collect and use data on the tendencies of the hitters. Joe Maddon and Tampa are leading the way on that front.

The shot put had a similiar innovation. (O’Brien shift)

Matt Kenseth ran away with the NASCAR championship in 2003 while only winning one race. The points were changed after that to emphasize winning.

That’s the one I was going to mention.You have to have at least one foot in front of the ball when you put, also.

1870s baseball player Ross Barnes got very good at hitting the ball into the dirt in front of home plate so that it would bounce deep into foul territory; statistically, he still ranks as one of the top shortstops ever because of this trick. The rules were changed to make this a foul ball, and his career was effectively ended.

Fort Wayne Pistons coach Murray Mendenhall froze the ball on George Mikan’s Minneapolis Lakers in a 1950 contest, leading to a thrilling 19-18 affair. The shot clock came to be shortly after that. (Well, in 1954.)

I don’t know if this qualifies as a rule change, but I was disappointed when I found out that in ski jumping, they have to keep redesigning the jumps so they are progressively more and more difficult, as the jumpers get progressively better at jumping, otherwise, they’d be able to jump clear down the hill and smack flat into the ground at the bottom of the hill, which would be not so much fun, and kind of hard on the athletes. It would add dimension to “agony of defeat” by expanding it into “agony of victory,” though. The NEXT guy would be all “you know what? I don’t think I’m going to jump that far…”

Thanks. That makes perfect sense considering when both of them joined the Association. Do you know why Mikan didn’t do offensive goaltending enough for the NBA to change the rule?

Does high school count?

Piedmont High School (between Berkeley and Oakland) is known for two things: birdcalling (remember the Leonard Waxdeck Bird Calling Competition as seen on The Tonight Show (and later on Letterman)?), and something called the “A-11” offense, where, because of a loophole in the rules, if the QB was seven yards behind the center and none of the players were numbered 50-79, they could all move during a shift, as long as they stood still for one second before the snap, so you never knew who the eligible receivers were going to be on a given play until just before the snap. The year after it became popular, the national high school rules committee outlawed it (except on fourth down, I think).