Good­ell out­lines pro­pos­als to quicken pace of games

Fewer com­mer­cial breaks, cen­tral­ized re­play among ideas.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - Wire ser­vices AP

For all those NFL fans long­ing for more ac­tion, fewer in­ter­rup­tions and a bet­ter flow to games, Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell is with you.

The NFL is mak­ing plans to speed up the pace of games, in­clud­ing chang­ing how video re­plays are han­dled and us­ing a time clock for ex­tra points. The league also is dis­cussing with the TV net­works how to make com­mer­cial breaks less in­tru­sive.

“I watch a lot of foot­ball as a fan and as com­mis­sioner,” Good­ell told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Wed­nes­day af­ter send­ing a let­ter to fans out­lin­ing the pro­pos­als. “I see when I am watch­ing on TV or at a sta­dium that there are op­por­tu­ni­ties to make the game more com­pelling from a fan stand­point.”

For of­fi­ci­at­ing re­plays, the ref­eree no longer would go un­der a hood to watch a play. In­stead, a tablet would be brought to him on the field and he would con­sult with league head­quar­ters in New York. The fi­nal call would be made in New York.

Sup­port by 75 per­cent of the 32 team own­ers would be needed at next week’s an­nual meet­ings in Phoenix for pas­sage of the pro­pos­als.

In ad­di­tion to a time clock for PATs when there is no TV break, the league is con­sid­er­ing in­sti­tut­ing a play clock af­ter a touch­down.

Also, to im­prove the flow of games on the field and for tele­vi­sion au­di­ences, com­mer­cial breaks dur­ing the quar­ters would be re­duced from 21 per game to 16 (four per pe­riod), al­though each would last 30 sec­onds longer. There are also breaks at the end of the first and third quar­ters.

Teams also would not be al­lowed to make a chal­lenge late in a com­mer­cial break, mean­ing no more scenes of a ref­eree telling the TV au­di­ence when it re­turns that a video re­view will now take place — and then the net­work goes to an­other com­mer­cial. If a team de­cides to chal­lenge a call at that time, the re­view would be done dur­ing the com­mer­cials.

The most sig­nif­i­cant change might be cen­tral­iz­ing of­fi­ci­at­ing de­ci­sions on re­plays, a sys­tem that has worked well for the NHL. NFL of­fi­ci­at­ing di­rec­tor Dean Blandino and his New York staff have been in­volved in the process for years, but the ref­eree has al­ways been the fi­nal ar­biter on such calls.

“We did cen­tral­ized re­play with our of­fice in­volved for two sea­sons,” Good­ell said, “and this is one step fur­ther where we’re go­ing to al­low the New York of­fice to make the fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion. We think this is very smart. We still pro­vide for the ref­eree’s in­put, but in­stead of go­ing un­der the hood, he’ll use the tablet to see the play, and speak to Dean and have their voice. We want the ref­eree in­volved when we look at re­plays.”

Other pro­pos­als, all with the pace of games in mind, would en­sure that the clock is restarted at the proper time af­ter a ball car­rier goes out of bounds, and would stan­dard­ize the length of half­times. Reg­u­lar-sea­son half­times are sup­posed to last 12 min­utes, but ref­er­ees have used their dis­cre­tion in that area.

“We’re ad­dress­ing in­ter­rup­tions

and just try­ing to move things along,” Good­ell added.

Ben­gals: Cor­ner­back Adam “Pac­man” Jones faces three mis­de­meanor charges, in­clud­ing as­sault, but no longer is be­ing charged with a felony for a Jan­uary con­fronta­tion with ho­tel se­cu­rity guards, po­lice and a nurse.

A felony charge of ha­rass­ment with a bod­ily sub­stance, for al­legedly spit­ting at a nurse, was dis­missed at the pros­e­cut­ing at­tor­ney’s re­quest, Hamil­ton County Pros­e­cu­tor Joe De­ters said.

Bears: Signed for­mer Rams kick re­turner Benny Cun­ning­ham to a one-year con­tract. Cun­ning­ham’s 2,575 re­turn yards over the past four years rank fourth in the league, and he had the third-high­est av­er­age at 27.2 yards last sea­son.

The Bears also re-signed de­fen­sive line­man C.J. Wil­son to a one-year con­tract. A seven-year vet­eran, he ap­peared in six games last sea­son and had one sack.

Lions: Re-signed de­fen­sive end Ar­monty Bryant, who joined the Lions via waivers dur­ing the 2016 sea­son af­ter play­ing his first three sea­sons in Cleve­land.

Ti­tans: Agreed to terms with vet­eran of­fen­sive line­man Tim Lelito. The 6-foot4, 315-pounder started 24 of his 63 games over the past four sea­sons with the Saints.

The NFL may do away with refs go­ing to the side­line to view re­plays. In­stead, a tablet would be brought on the field and the de­ci­sion made in league head­quar­ters.

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