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Goodell: NFL looking at cutting commercials, other changes to speed up games


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference that the NFL is examining how to keep games moving -- and retain TV viewers -- and expects some changes to be implemented for the 2017 season.

Among those changes are a potential reduction of TV timeouts from five per quarter to four. The NFL experimented with that in Week 16 of the 2016 season, and Goodell said the league is also studying how replays and replay challenges are processed, as well as how quickly teams return to the field following mandatory stoppages and TV timeouts.

“There are a number of things we think we can shorten the management of the game, to focus less on stoppages and more on action,” Goodell said.

Goodell said that, based on early input, the NFL is “leaning very heavily” towards reducing the number of commercials and expects “to see a lot of changes this offseason” in regard to the length of games.

“This is not a competition committee issue but an issue with our leadership and broadcast partners,” Goodell said. “We are trying to do it with the right balance that can improve the quality for our fans in the stadium and also the quality of the broadcast.”

While Goodell maintained his opinion that “we have seen high quality football on Thursday night,” he acknowledged that that the NFL is examining whether all 32 teams will get a Thursday night game, as they have in recent years, and could also change the structure of the schedule regarding which games CBS broadcasts, which games NBC broadcasts and which will air solely on NFL Network.