PHOENIX – The NFL is looking to take "downtime" out of games that averaged 3:07 in length last season.
At this week's Annual League Meetings in Arizona, the NFL will further discuss ways to improve the game, with shortening game time one of the main focuses.
Centralizing replay in New York, keeping touchbacks at the 25-yard-line and shortening overtime to 10 minutes (from 15) are all other changes that could be on the horizon this week.
The NFL continues to be pleased with a league defined by parity: this past season the NFL had the smallest margin of victory since 1934, they had six of eight new division champions and at least four new teams made the playoffs for a 27th straight year.
At a conference call last week, the NFL Competition Committee explained some ways they are hoping to eliminate the extra downtime within a game:
-Switch the halftime length to 13 minutes and 30 seconds:
Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay had this to say about shortening halftime during last week's call: "Halftime currently is 12 minutes, but there is built-in delay time that involves teams getting to the locker room and the infrastructure of our stadiums and how they're configured. We're going to eliminate all of those discretionary periods of time and just have a clock, 13 minutes and 30 seconds. And at the end of that, the ball will be made ready for play for the second half kickoff."
-Regulate the clock when a runner goes out of bounds outside two minutes left in the first half and outside five minutes to go in the second half.
-Referees will have the chance to make replay announcements during commercial breaks, instead of waiting for the TV broadcast to return.
-Implement a 40-second play clock following extra points leading into a kickoff if there is no commercial break.
Along with the rule proposals below, the NFL is expected to vote on the Raiders possible relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas.
Here is the NFL's list of the 2017 Playing Rules Proposals to be discussed this week:
- By Philadelphia: Gives additional protections for long snappers on kick plays.
- By Philadelphia: Prohibits the "leaper" block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.
- By Philadelphia: Expands the "crown of helmet" foul to include "hairline" part of helmet.
- By Philadelphia: Amends the challenge system by granting a third challenge if a club is successful on at least one of its initial two challenges, and expands reviewable plays outside of two minutes of each half.
- By Washington: Eliminates the limit of three total challenges per team per game and eliminates the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.
- By Washington: Moves the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line for any touchback where the free kick travels through the uprights.
- By Buffalo and Seattle: Permits a coach to challenge any officials' decision except scoring plays and turnovers.
- By Competition Committee: Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
- By Competition Committee: Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only.
- By Competition Committee: Reduces the length of preseason and regular season overtime periods to 10 minutes.
- By Competition Committee: Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection.
- By Competition Committee: Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped.
- By Competition Committee: Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews.
- By Competition Committee: Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.
- By Competition Committee: Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.
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