Every offseason, one of the focal points for many NFL media members and fans is which rules will be changed and what affect will that have on the games. In the past few years, several major rules changes have occurred including moving the extra point attempt back to make it more difficult and moving the kickoff up to the 35-yard-line. While those changes have become the norm for fans now, the league once again made a few tweaks to its rules this offseason.
As always with rules changes, the question is whether or not they actually make the game better for both fans and the players themselves. CBS Sports Radio hosts Gregg Giannotti, Brian Jones, Marc Malusis, Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney all weighed in with their thoughts on how this year’s changes will affect the game.
“The celebrations thing was long overdue,” said Gianotti. “There was no reason to penalize guys for getting together a couple of people choreographing something or doing something fun. It will be good for the fans because we’ll laugh at it but, is it really going to impact the game? Probably not. A fifteen yard penalty on a kickoff didn’t change anybody’s life beforehand but I’m happy to see that they’re loosening up a little bit.”
Marc Malusis agrees with that assessment and thinks that the league is trying to allow for a little more fun in its games once again.
“I think the NFL is trying to make football fun again,” said Malusis. “I think it’s for the millennials, it’s for people that are 15-20 years younger than I am and trying to make people more interested in the game because I think the NFL has maybe seen a little bit of a statistical drop-off in younger viewership so therefore, they’re going to allow younger guys to enjoy themselves when they get into the end zone.”
While the consensus among the guys seems to be in favor of the new rule because of how the league is loosening up on its policies a little bit, there’s still some concern that some players may take it too far.
“There has to be a fine line between not disrespecting the opponent too overtly or doing anything lewd where kids or other fans could get offended,” said Tierney. “As long as that nonsense is eliminated and policed vigilantly, you have to let these guys have fun.”
The other significant rule change came in regards to overtime. The league reduced the amount of time in the overtime period from 15 minutes to 10. For his part, Tiki Barber doesn’t think the change is going to make that much of a difference.
“I don’t think it makes that big of a difference,” said Barber. “I read this stat that only 22 of the last 83 games that have gone into overtime have gone past 1o minutes. So, I honestly don’t think it’s going to be impactful. But, it will provide a sense of urgency in overtime as in, I have to go score right now. I can’t afford to just sit and wait, otherwise I’m guaranteeing myself a tie, which we’ve shown has had impacts as the seasons have gone on and you’re competing for the playoffs a half a game behind because you have a tie instead of a win.”