The NFL owners are meeting and changes are a coming. The NFL has made a few big rule changes today.
One that sits atop the list should make fans a lot happier. Player celebrations are back. Monitored but back nonetheless. In previous years things such as a snow-angel was met with a flag and fine. Using the football as a prop? Flag and a fine. No more.
The NFL announced today that the rules are relaxing.
"Today, we are excited to tell you about another change that comes after conversations with more than 80 current and former players: we are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays.We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown. And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements. – NFL press release"
Also making its way back into the game is the group celebration. No longer will a team and it’s players be fined for celebrating together and the relaxation of these rules should bring more entertainment to a game that is supposed to be entertaining.
Roger Goodell went on to say that the league is still trying to improve and certain types of celebrations, those that delay the game or are directed towards an opponent will still be fined. Last year Cowboys rookie running back was flagged for jumping into a big Salvation Army Christmas display. He wasn’t fined but it did lead to changes.
In other rule changes, the NFL has elected to shorten the length of overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. While this will create a larger chance of ties in the league, the extra five minutes is taxing on players who have already been on the field for 60 minutes. Roger Goodell called it a player safety measure.
Owners today will also vote on allowing teams to designate two players to come back from the IR. It currently stands at one.
Also a new rule that will take effect this year is the elimination of the first round of roster cuts. In years past, teams had three rounds of roster cuts to get to the league mandated 53 man roster. The first took place after week two of pre-season. Now teams no longer have to make their first cut to 75 until after another pre-season game. This however will make teams cut a lot of players all at once rather than in stages.
The rule changes are good for now and should improve the overall entertainment value but the NFL still has work to do. Increasing the roster size would help lower injury risks but owners may not be ready to guarantee salaries to more players just yet.
Overall a busy day for the NFL.
CORRECTION: The dropping of the 75 man roster cut will now occur after the fourth and final pre-season game. The eliminated cut to 75 means teams will carry 90 players throughout pre-season and cut to the league mandated 53 in one cut day. The move was approved by the NFL owners today.