The NFL owners met recently to vote on some proposed changes to the league. There were a few changes being voted on so let’s get stuck in.

NFL Overtime Rules

One of the biggest rules changes that everyone has picked up on and are talking about is the length of the overtime period. It used to be 15 minutes but that has now be voted on and changed to 10 minutes.

This was proposed as a means of reducing the number of injuries players can suffer during a season. The idea is with less playing time whilst players are fatigued should hopefully mean fewer injuries are sustained. Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh stated that players are exhausted after 10 minutes of overtime and are just trying to hang on for the final 5 minutes.

It’s a good point, really, as playing whilst exhausted is surely going to mean less concentration and therefore players might not protect themselves quite as they should during those last 5 minutes.

Many fans of the game have been annoyed by this rules change as has been easily seen via social media. Fans are claiming that this change will mean more games end in a tie – which U.S. fans obviously can’t stand. Fair point really.

Houston Texans’ head coach, Bill O’Brian disagreed with this point, though, and stated that most coaches coach to the clock. By this, he means that this shorter OT period could/should be played at a faster pace as teams try to score quicker in order to avoid the tie. This is another good counter to the fans outrage and I feel it will make OT even more of a spectacle.

According to a report on NFL.com, the average OT period over the past 5 years is 7 minutes 43 seconds and there has only been an average of one tied game per year in that same time span. This all sounds good and in favour of the reduced OT period with regards to the fan’s arguments, but the report also went on to say that if all the OT periods of that 5 year time span had been played at the new 10 minute length, then there would have been an average of 3.2 tied games per year. I get what they’re saying with that but the way teams approach an OT period will evolve to match the rules and I really don’t think we’ll get an increase in tied games. Even if we did get more tied games, it might not be the end of the world anyway. A half game here and a half game there on your season’s won/lost record might spice things up a bit. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Some fans have also been screaming about the NFL adopting the college OT rules but the owners and league have said they’d much rather keep NFL OT using the same format as the regulation periods (the normal 4 periods of the game).

Injured Reserve

When a player suffers a serious injury and is likely to be out of action for a long time, teams are allowed to put him on their Injured Reserves list. This is done so that he remains as part of the organisation but he no longer takes up a spot on your roster. This allows the team to bring in a replacement without them then going over the 53-man roster limit.

Prior to 2012, once you were put onto your team’s injured reserves list your season was over. After 2012, this rule was changed to where a team could bring one player back to practice if he’d spent 6+ weeks on the IR list and then he could come back to playing games if he’d spent 8 weeks on IR. This has been changed in this latest round of rules changes and now teams can bring 2 players back instead of just one.

I really like this rule as it gives the teams more freedom to swap players around if/when injured and will allow them to bring more players back to the starting lineups for the exciting run-ins towards the end of the season. Don’t get me wrong, the backups in the NFL will, obviously, be better players than I ever could have been but I know I for one would definitely prefer to be watching the starters and stars of the game playing rather than a league full of backups.

Touchdown Celebrations

The other most talked about rules change from the recent voting session was the touchdown celebrations. The rules have, basically, been relaxed with regards to what can and can’t be done celebration-wise. Players can now 1) Use the football as a prop during the celebration, 2) Celebrate on the ground, and 3) Do group celebrations.

NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell said he like to allow, “Freedom to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements”.

I say, “What a load of shite! A lot of players will just use them as a means to further themselves and their brand.”

Players will still have to respect, “sportsmanship, clean competition and setting good examples for young athletes”. Because of this, offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are too long and delay the game as well as those directed at an opponent will still get penalised.

I just know media outlets are going to start making a meal out of the slightest little celebration that pushes the rules to any degree. We’ll be hearing far too much about these waste of time celebrations which will reduce time spent talking about the game of football.

You might be getting the idea already but I’m really not a fan of this rules change and feel it’s totally unnecessary and could distract from the game itself. Yeah yeah, people will say it will add to it but I feel it’s unnecessary.

Roster Cuts

A rule that not many seem to be talking about (probably talking about all the dumb celebrations that we’ll be seeing) is that of roster cuts. In past preseasons, teams have had to cut their rosters down from 90 players to 75 before the final preseason game. This has changed as they no longer have to cut it down until after that game. This gives the 15 guys that could have been cut one more chance to prove their worth and then go on to fight for a final 53-man roster spot. I like this rule as well as I’m all for giving players and coaches as many opportunities as possible to be putting the correct players in the correct spots on their rosters.

Medical Tents

The final change we’ll see starting in the 2017 NFL season is that of the addition of medical tents. These will be seen on the sidelines at games (as they were in the 2016 college season) and will be there to allow players and doctors to have more privacy and a chance to make a better initial diagnosis of an injury.

This is another innovation I like as it could stop players from going back out onto the field to play when their injury is actually worse than initially thought. It is situations like this that can mean a player is out longer than he should be due to a poor initial diagnosis.

My Thoughts on these NFL Rules Changes

I’m sure I don’t have to say about my thoughts on the celebrations thing as I probably already have. I, personally, don’t believe a rules change was necessary with regards to celebrations but in today’s world, it’s all about reality TV and social media. People are far too interested in what celebrities have to say and what they get up to so I can see why the NFL has done what it has – evolving with the times.

The other rules changes I do like. Allowing players one more week of preseason to prove themselves is great and the medical tents, injured reserves and overtime changes should, hopefully, all add up to us seeing the star players out on the field of play for more of the season meaning we get more for our money.

So, what do you think about these changes? As usual, let us know in the comments below.