The “No Fun League” just got a bit more fun. NFL owners agreed to relax the celebration rules.
After years of increasingly arbitrary strictness regarding touchdown celebrations, the NFL is loosening its grip. That doesn’t mean that all celebrations will now go unpunished: the league will still throw the flag for those they deem in bad taste. That includes Brandin Cooks’s archer celebration, but that’s no skin off my back.
Here are the specific rule changes: the ball will no longer be considered a prop (seriously, about time). Players will be allowed to celebrate on the ground, and will be able to do so in groups again.
This should put some fun back into the players’ hearts. Football is no silly sport, and it’s important, I think, to give players the freedom to take some joy in the game every once in a while. The league will put an emphasis on banning any form of mocking — apparently older players were very adamant about that — but in general, we should see a lot more creativity in the end zone.
The league made one change that will offset some of this newfound freedom. In a much needed attempt to speed up the game, a 40-second play clock will now start once the official signals a touchdown, and teams will need to get their PAT team on the field quickly if they don’t want to be penalized.
Other rule changes include the 75-man roster cuts, overtime and the Injured Reserve.
Owners changed the rules regarding preseason roster cuts. Where once there were two deadlines for cuts, one after preseason Week 3 from 90 men to 75, and another to 53 after the final game, there will now only be one. From 90 to 53 after the final preseason game.
That single day of cuts will be an intense gut-check day for bubble-players. But the move helps coaches and, ultimately, helps those bubble-guys. Those players that most need to get reps in will now still be on the roster for Week 4 of the preseason. And those that don’t need to reps will have more time to rest.
The IR change is also very welcome, in my mind. In the past, teams have been allowed to move one player from IR to the active roster per season, at the midway point. Now they’ll be allowed two. With the Saints injury history, this change should be welcome to Saints fans.
I’m not as sure on the overtime rule change. The overtime period now maxes out at 10 minutes, rather than 15. Sure, that means less exhausting gametime for players. But I’ve never heard them complain about the overtime length. In effect, it’ll lead to more ties. I guess that adds a new dynamic to the standings. But its a weird outcome.