Commissioner Roger Goodell Addresses Pace of Play Changes in Letter to Fans
March 22, 2017 10:05 PM | Mark Bodenrader
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to fans on Wednesday that addressed the efforts the league is making to cut down on the number of unnecessary disruptions in a game and improve the pace of play. Below is the full text from the letter.

Dear Fans,

Here at the NFL, we have a relentless drive to improve-particularly when it comes to the way fans experience ourgame.

In order to understand how we might deliver a better and more exciting entertainment experience for you, we embarked on a specific project before the start of the 2016 season to gather feedback about the in-stadium and live NFL game viewingexperience.

Consistently, we heard from fans that we can improve in two key areas: the flow and pace of the game, and commercialization and the number of unnecessary disruptions to the game on thefield.

Today, I want to tell you about some of the ways we are working to addressthat.

On the football side, there are a number of changes we are making to the mechanics and rules of the game to maintain excitement and also improve the consistency of ourofficiating.

For example, next week 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 theprocess.

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. Those are just a few of the elements we are working on to improve the pace of ourgame.

Together with our broadcast partners, we will be working to meaningfully reduce down time and the frequency of commercial breaks in our game. We will also be giving our broadcast partners increased flexibility to avoid untimely breaks in the action. For example, 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. Our goal is to eliminateit.

We also know that you feel there are too many elements in the broadcast that aren't relevant to the play on the field. With our partners, we will be looking to instead focus on content that is most complementary and compelling to you-whether that is analysis, highlights or stories about ourplayers.

All of these changes are meant to give you more of what you want: a competitive game with fewer interruptions and distractions from theaction.

There is much more work to do in the coming seasons as we continue to listen and learn. But these positive changes are intended to create a better experience for you, ourfans.

We hope that you will continue to give us feedback on how we canimprove.

Thank you for all that you do for our players, our teams and ourgame.

Roger Goodell
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