The NFL is planning to make changes aimed at improving the viewing experience and pace of the game, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in an email addressed to fans Wednesday.
In the message, Goodell states the NFL will make a series of changes that will help improve "the flow and pace of the game, and commercialization and the number of necessary disruptions to the game on the field."
Goodell will go over the changes in more detail in an interview with NFL Network's Judy Battista that will air on NFL Network's Up To The Minute Live on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET and on NFL Total Access at 7 p.m. ET.
Goodell outlined a number of changes that will be made to the mechanics and rules of the game:
»Clubs will vote on a change to centralize replay reviews. Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision. This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process.
»*Regarding game timing, we're going to institute a play clock following the extra point when television does not take a break, and we're considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown. *
»*We're also going to standardize the starting of the clock after a runner goes out-of-bounds, and standardize halftime lengths in all games, so we return to the action as quickly as possible.*
Goodell told USA Today's Tom Pelissero that the possibility of the play clock being activated after touchdowns remains under discussion.
In addition to changes within the game, Goodell wrote the league is working with its broadcasting partners to reduce the time and frequency of commercial breaks during games. The NFL is moving to eliminate some scheduled television commercial breaks, per Pelissero. If implemented, each break would be increased from 1 minute, 50 seconds to 2:20 to accommodate the new format.
Goodell told USA Today the goal isn't to shorten games, although he estimates the changes could reduce game length by about five minutes.
"We know how annoying it is when we come back from a commercial break, kick off, and then cut to a commercial again. I hate that too," Goodell wrote. "Our goal is to eliminate it."
In addition to potential changes to commercials, the league is proposing additional changes to broadcasts centered upon providing more "compelling" content.
Some of the proposed changes -- such as the centralized replay review proposal -- will have to be approved by NFL ownership before implementation. The proposals will be reviewed by team owners at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, which starts Sunday.