NFL Rule Changes: Overtime Length and Touchdown Celebrations

Ruben Ruiz
May 31, 2017

The first change announced on Tuesday was the new length for overtime periods in preseason and regular season games.

According to several National Football League reporters, owners passed a resolution on Tuesday that now eliminates teams having to trim their 90-man rosters down to 75 players following the fourth week of the preseason, which for all but the two National Football League teams who play in the annual Hall of Fame game, is after their third preseason game. Before that, a player who went on injured reserve was out for the season. While flags for unsportsmanlike conduct due to excessive celebration became a fixture of post-touchdown joy over the past few seasons, the "No Fun League" will now tolerate the following: Using the football as a prop, going to ground, and doing group celebrations. Roger Goodell released a letter to address celebrations around the league.

According to this article by Jeanna Thomas, the driving force behind the rule change is the idea that shortening overtime would be better for player health and safety. The teams are scheduled to play at Gillette Stadium on August 10. Increasing the roster size would help lower injury risks but owners may not be ready to guarantee salaries to more players just yet.

Now teams will have to trim 37 players at one time following the last preseason game.

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There are mixed feelings toward this new rule change. While this will create a larger chance of ties in the league, the extra five minutes is taxing on players who have already been on the field for 60 minutes.

More celebrations. Maybe more ties.

As for what celebrations are too "prolonged", until the new replay rules were implemented earlier this offseason, reviews delayed games far longer and more frequently than player celebrations ever did. Most offensive linemen are part of the field goal time, so they can't exactly run to the end zone to join in on a celebration, and then sprint back to the 17 yard line so they can take their position on the PAT.

While NFL players are surely excited about the league's new flexibility on celebrations, not all rules have changed. Vote in the poll and let us know in the comments. That's five minutes shorter than the maximum allowed under the former rule for the NFL's "modified sudden death" format. Players designated to return are eligible to practice after six weeks on IR and play after eight weeks.

Other reports by GizPress

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