Tuesday, league owners voted on a variety of different topics. Those topics ranged from overtime rules, to on-field celebrations, all the way down to roster cuts. That topic however, remains the most interesting of all. For decades, teams were forced to narrow their respective roster down to 75 men, and again down to 53 before the start of the regular season. However, a rule voted on by the majority of NFL owners, removed the 75-man roster cut. This means teams can carry 90 players throughout the entire preaseason, making final roster cuts hours before the regular season begins.
Not only does this allow coaches and general managers to get a better grasp on each individual player, prior to making a life-changing cut. It now means that the free agency period prior to the start of the NFL regular season, could be more frantic than ever. Good players often get cut in preseason, but very rarely do they all get cut at one time. This new designation, will allow NFL teams to pick through impending free agents, strengthening their roster prior to week one.
Other rules that have significant impact on players and teams alike, include the new IR designation, overtime rules, and penalties for on-field celebrations. Previously, teams were only allowed to bring one player back from IR in a given season. That is no longer the case, as teams will now be enabled to return two players from injured reserve. This will make teams more competitive later in the year, making the overall product better.
Owners also voted on a reduced overtime rule, switching from 15 to 10-minute quarters. This will make things more exciting, but could inevitable result in more ties. Teams could be more inclined to take risks in overtime, searching for the win instead of the tie.
Lastly, referees plan on being more lenient with on-field celebrations than previous years. This is something that benefits both the fans and players. In my opinion, there’s no reason players can’t celebrate after touchdowns. Of course, those that tend to be a bit excessive should continue to be penalized.
The NFL continues to tweak the game for the better. Now let’s just hope it continues to be a superior product, than the other four major sports. I’m ready for some football, and excited to see how these new rules impact the 2017 and beyond.