NFL cuts down overtime from 15 minutes to 10
Allen Park — NFL owners voted on multiple changes on Tuesday, including the reduction of regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10.
The overtime change is being pushed as a player-safety initiative, but isn’t likely to be popular with fans, especially if it results in more ties. According to data collected by the league, there have been five ties in the past five years. Under the new rule, there would have been 16 games ending in gridlock.
In addition to the overtime changes, the league also announced there will be one — not two — roster-cut deadlines, teams will be allowed to return two players from injured reserve, and officials will no longer be penalizing most touchdown celebrations.
With the roster-reduction change, teams have traditionally had to cut rosters from 90 to 75 one week before getting down to an official 53-man limit to start the regular season. Now, teams will go directly from 90 to 53 following the preseason finale.
Being able to return two players from injured reserve doubles the exemption first introduced by the league in 2012. A player placed on injured reserve can begin practicing after six weeks and return to game action after eight.
Unlike when the rule was first put into place, teams no longer have to designate a player as returning at the time he is placed on injured reserve.
As for celebration penalties, which had earned the NFL the nickname “No Fun League,” players will now be allowed to celebrate scouting plays with teammates, go to the ground during the celebration, and even use the ball as a prop.
Commissioner Roger Goodell noted the change comes after consulting with a number of players.
“We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown,” Goodell wrote in a letter to fans. “And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.”
There are still some limitations. Celebrations that are sexually suggestive, simulate violence, taunt opponents or delay the game will still be penalized.
In addition to the rule changes, the league also announced two future Super Bowls are changing location. Days after the Los Angeles franchises noted their stadium opening would be delayed another year, the league moved Super Bowl LV from Los Angeles to Tampa Bay.
It will be the first Super Bowl hosted by Tampa Bay since Pittsburgh’s classic 27-23 victory over Arizona XLIII in 2009.
Los Angeles now will host Super Bowl LVI in 2022.