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NFL Passes Major Rule Changes for 2017 Season

The NFL Spring Meeting is underway in Chicago, and owners passed several major rule changes that will immediately go into effect.  Here is a closer look at what you will see differently in 2017.

CELEBRATIONS

Fans love celebrations.  Players love celebrations.  Pretty much everyone loves celebrations.

Luckily, the NFL listened to the outcry from those on the field and in the stands as they reversed course on their strict celebration limits.  In a letter to fans, Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote the following:

*"Today, we are excited to tell you about another change that comes after conversations with more than 80 current and former players: we are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays. *

We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown. And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.

In my conversations with NFL players, it was also clear how much our players care about sportsmanship, clean competition, and setting good examples for young athletes. That is why offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game, and those directed at an opponent, will still be penalized."

OVERTIME

Prepare to see less of more as overtime will be shortened from 15 minutes to 10.  However, the same modified sudden death rules remain in place. The league cited player safety as the impetus behind the change.

While some believe this may lead to a drastic increase in ties, the NFL explained why that may not be the case.

According to their research, the average overtime session over the past five years is seven minutes and 43 seconds.  In fact, only 22 of 83 games went beyond 10 minutes.  Had these rules been in effect over that time frame, there would have been only 16 total ties for an average of 3.2 per year.

IR Rules

In 2012, the NFL allowed teams to tag one single player as designated to return when placed on the reserve-injured list.

Last season, the league changed the rules to where teams could choose which player to bring back after they were all on IR.

This year, the rules change once again as teams can now designate two players to return.  Each player must be on IR for six weeks before returning to practice, and can't play in a game until eight weeks have passed.

ROSTER CUTS

The 75-man cut down day is a thing of the past.

While teams have been required to trim the roster from 90 to 75 before the final preseason game prior to getting down to the final 53-man roster, all cuts will now come on the same day.  As a result, 15 more players per team will have one last chance to stake claim to a roster spot while a total of 1,184 will be let go throughout the league at the same time.

SUPER BOWL

The decision to open the L.A. Stadium and Entertainment District in 2020 instead of 2019 resulted in a unanimous decision to host Super Bowl LVI instead of LV. Instead, the big game will be played in Tampa Bay in 2021 before moving to the future home of the Bolts in 2022.

MEDICAL TENTS

Goodell announced in a press conference that medical tents will be used on the sidelines for players beginning in 2017.

"It's an opportunity for us to have a better examination because it will ensure privacy for a short period of time so doctors can go ahead and make the appropriate diagnosis," he explained.

Medical tents were used last year on the collegiate level.

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