NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Vows to Reduce Game Interruptions and Improve Flow
You know when you’re watching an NFL game, after a team scores and kicks the extra point, there’s a commercial break. Then, that team kicks off, which is followed by yet another commercial break. Finally, 15 minutes after that touchdown there’s some more action going on. Don’t you hate that?
Well, apparently NFL commissioner Roger Goodell does too. And, in an unusual break from his own precedent, Goodell has vowed to fix that and make football better.
“Together with our broadcast partners, we will be working to meaningfully reduce down time and the frequency of commercial breaks in our game,” wrote Goodell in a letter addressing NFL game flow. “We will also be giving our broadcast partners increased flexibility to avoid untimely breaks in the action. For example, we know how annoying it is when we come back from a commercial break, kick off, and then cut to a commercial again. I hate that too. Our goal is to eliminate it.”
That’s not all Goodell wants to change. The football czar also wants to see replay times cut down and more consistent rulings across games (e.g. what the hell is a catch?). He believes the best way to do that is to centralize the process completely, giving New York the final say on everything.
“Next week clubs will vote on a change to centralize replay reviews,” continued Goodell. “Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision. This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process.”
Two for two, Mr. Goodell. But I must disagree with the last point:
“Regarding game timing, we’re going to institute a play clock following the extra point when television does not take a break, and we’re considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown. We’re also going to standardize the starting of the clock after a runner goes out-of-bounds, and standardize halftime lengths in all games, so we return to the action as quickly as possible.”
While I love the idea of standard play clock operations and halftimes across matchups, I don’t approve of the play clock starting after a touchdown before the extra point. This seems to go back to Goodell’s war on fun in the league. Players like to celebrate. Fans (well, maybe not fans of the opposing team) enjoy watching the dancing. It’s part of the experience. Rushing offenses off the field to kick the extra point seems to be an attempt to curb fun without directly outlawing it.
But, hey, two for three isn’t bad for Goodell. We’ll see how much he actually gets done.