The NFL keeps tweaking rules, year after year. This week they voted to introduce a whole bunch of new ones. SB Nation has the full breakdown of all of them, but let’s quickly go through the most important ones.
Overtime is shortened from 15 to 10 minutes
This won’t do anything for the vast majority of games. Overtime is already rare, overtime games that get to ten minutes even rarer, and overtime games that actually get decided in the final five minutes even rarer.
Still, this will increase the number of tie games. Which will probably the most significant effect of this rule change, which does not apply to the playoffs.
Two players can return from injured reserve
The NFL is loosening injured reserve year by year. They introduced strict rules to prevent teams from stashing players on there when they run out of regular roster spots, but that’s becoming a slightly more realistic possibility now.
More likely, though, teams will use this to stash players who suffer one-to-two-month injuries early in the season, so they can come back for the end of the season as well as the playoffs.
Previously, teams would keep players on their inactive lists for months at a time because injured reserve meant losing them for the entire season. And in some cases, that led to teams keeping players around for 12 games and then never getting to play them because their recovery didn’t go as planned. Those kinds of things should be done now.
Fewer celebration penalties
Finally. Let players have some fun! Who really cares if a players dance together after a touchdown, or someone dances with the ball, or someone falls to the ground to celebrate? Come on. Good call, NFL.