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Hey NFL, enough with the rule changes already

The NFL’s Competition Committee never seems content with the status quo. This year is no different, as the committee is looking to shorten overtime and perhaps make touchdown celebration penalties a judgment call for officials.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

You ever find yourself Googling old NFL standings from the 1950’s and 1960’s and thinking: “Gee, I wish teams would have more ties, like the 1963 Steelers, who finished 7-4-3”?

If you’ve had those thoughts and desires, you may soon be in a time-warp back to the days when I Love Lucy reigned supreme, once the NFL’s Competition Committee gathers in conjunction with the annual owners’ meeting, which is set to commence this week in Phoenix, Arizona.

One of the many proposals the committee is kicking around is reducing all preseason and regular season overtime games from 15 minutes to 10.

Of course, like a lot of other things involving the NFL these days, this rule is being proposed in the name of player safety.

You see, the NFL thinks a team that plays on Thursday night is at a “real disadvantage” if, four days earlier, it played a full fifteen minutes of overtime.

Yeah, ‘cause playing 60 minutes of football 16 times a year, that’s tolerable. But those extra five minutes of overtime every four seasons or so, well, that’s just too much for a body to take. (You just know Larry Foote, who was a member of the 2002 Steelers squad that finished 10-5-1 thanks to a tie with the Falcons in Week 10, will one day sue the NFL over those extra five minutes of wear and tear on his crippled body—and the Steelers didn’t even play on a Thursday night four days later.)

You and the NFL might not think this proposed new rule will lead to more ties, but lets just see how everyone feels next January, after the 10-6 Steelers lose the AFC North title to the 10-3-3 Bengals (Cincinnati has had three ties since 2008—and that was with a 15-minute overtime period).

My guess is you won’t be so enthusiastic about the new overtime rule.

Anyway, I hope this new overtime rule isn’t part of an effort to reduce the average time of NFL games, but if it is, that would make sense, since the league is also considering reducing the number of NFL commercial breaks per game.

You know that whole score/commercial/kickoff/commercial sequence that normally occurs during an NFL game? That drives you crazy, right? Fortunately for you, it also drives commissioner Roger Goodell “crazy,” and the league is looking to reduce the number of commercial breaks in 2017, which will (hopefully) decrease the amount of time an NFL game is played on average.

As a society, we seem to be preoccupied with the length of sporting events these days—you know, because our personal time is just so precious.

So, just how long are NFL games in the modern era? According to this article from 2015, they are roughly three hours and nine minutes.

As per this New York Times article from 1991, the average length of an NFL game during George H.W. Bush’s third year as President of the United States of America was 2:58. So an extra 10 minutes or so is too much to spare, some 26 years later?

Just how important is your time?

I ask this because we now live in a society where people post Facebook Memes of cats with weird looks on their faces and captions that read: “Me, when I’m hungry and the waiter just ignored me for the third time.”

You mean to tell me you have time to make that Meme (this kind of stuff takes at least 10 minutes), but you don’t have a schedule that will allow an extra 10 minutes each week to watch NFL football?

Just who do you think you are?

I know who I am, I’m a guy who, just last week, fell into an Internet wormhole of Duran Duran songs on a Sunday afternoon. This wormhole lasted about 36 minutes, which also included visits to the comments sections of various Duran Duran videos where I discovered that DD’s time was when music was music, unlike today...when music is crap.

Anyway, I, as an important member of society, can spare so much time for vintage Duran Duran videos from the 1980’s, but I don’t have a few extra seconds each fall for modern football and/or instant replay?

Maybe that’s because I’m one of those people who has no tolerance for post-touchdown celebrations.

Actually, I lied. When it comes down to it, I don’t really care, which is why I was so pleasantly surprised to find out the NFL owners are considering a “relaxed” stance on touchdown celebrations in 2017.

A relaxed stance? But I’m old school, and I want to go back to the days when players simply handed the football to the nearest official following a touchdown.

Actually, I’m not old school, but you are, and I have one question: Just how old are you?

I ask this because NFL players haven’t been handing the football back to officials following a touchdown since Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House.

Back in the 1970’s—when I was too young to care about football—the Oilers Billy “White Shoes” Johnson made a new name himself by doing a unique leg dance following touchdowns.

In the early ‘80s—when I was old enough to appreciate the NFL—the Washington Redskinsfun bunch” was the preeminent post-touchdown celebration of the day.

Sadly, the league soon outlawed those types of celebrations, which brings us to where we are today: A league where Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, the very best in the game at his position, is vilified for his 15-yard penalty-inducing post-touchdown celebrations.

Seriously, some 35 years after the Redskins did their thing, many fans want Brown, who has averaged 120 receptions a season since 2013, to be playing elsewhere, simply for his love of post-touchdown celebrations.

What is wrong with you?

More importantly, what is wrong with the NFL and its many “No Fun League” rules?

I don’t have any time for those.

NFL: You have too many bleepin’ rules.