By Herman Davis
Every year, NFL owners like Paul Allen meet to discuss different ways to improve to the league and different marketing techniques that will continue to grow the brand.
This year, owners gathered and made some major decisions, most notably being the approval of the Raiders relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas. Those weren’t all the changes made this year, however. Team owners recently decided to vote on some rule changes that they believe would not only speed the game up, but improve player safety by trying to solve the NFL’s concussion problem as well.
Let’s take a look at the approved changes that will be in effect for the upcoming 2017 football season.
The NFL is trying hard to bring back a little fun to sport. As a matter of fact, the league announced on Tuesday, May 23, that it was loosening its strict rules about on-field celebrations. This means that celebrations that include “using the football as a prop” after a touchdown are now permitted. Other celebrations that include ground demonstrations, or dancing with cheerleaders and teammates are also permitted to a certain extent, of course.
Offensive celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game for any reason will result in a player being penalized and face a possible fine along with a 1-2 week suspension. For the most part, however, it’s open season for celebration.
Stronger Enforcement on Illegal Hits
At the annual league meeting back in March, NFL clubs voted on making additional rule changes to the way football games are officiated in order to help improve the health and safety of players.
These changes were proposed by the NFL club members and the NFL competition committee, a group that has met over several times since the conclusion of the 2016 season to discuss player safety with physicians, safety experts, and other experts. By enforcing these rules, committees are hoping they can minimize injuries like concussions, knee injuries, and temporomandibular joint pain; a joint that’s located on the side of the skill and if not treated, could cause locking of the jaw.
Here are some of the approved health and safety related 2017 playing rules proposals:
- Giving a receiver that’s running a pass route defenseless player protection.
- Prohibiting crack back blocks by a backfield player who’s in motion.
- Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt during field goals and extra point plays.
These rules aren’t designed to penalize players. Instead, they were created with the intent of making the game of football safer by encouraging healthy behavior traits both on and off the field.
Technology: Centralized Replay Review
Each week, millions of people watch NFL games on their television screens or in person. Increasingly, they also follow the action on a second and, in some cases, third screen. Smartphones, computers, and tablets make it all possible for fans to witness the action live. That being said, instant replay is being used now more than ever in the NFL. As a matter of fact, only 17 percent of games were played without a replay in 2013.
How does it work?
Well, state-of-the-art technology powers the command center that the league uses to help monitor games and evaluate the officials who operate the instant replay system. As of this year, referees will no longer be expected to go hide under the “hood” to review plays. Instead, the final say on replay reviews and challenges will come from Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino and his crew, who will work from the league’s command office stationed in New York.
Don’t worry; referees will still be able to communicate their opinions on the decisions through a wireless headset and video tablet. The committee believes that with quicker review time, the game will go by faster by at least 1.5 minutes per game.
Technology instant replay also helps team physicians increase their knowledge of a patient’s condition after an injury. In other words, during a play, it’s hard to determine how a player got injured with 21 other men running around the field colliding into one another. With instant replay, however, officials can zone in on the injured player before the ball was snapped to see what happened. This helps doctors determine how players got injured and what part of the body suffered the biggest impact.
So, who’s ready for football season to start?