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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports


NFL may ease up on TD celebration penalties, shorten overtime

May 22, 2017 at 1:37 PM


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Last season, the San Francisco 49ers ranked 27th in the league in scoring offense (19.3 points per game) so they didn't have a ton of opportunities to celebrate in the end zone. If new head coach Kyle Shanahan can turn that around in 2017, the 49ers might not have to worry as much about excessive celebration penalties handed down by the league.

Fans have grown increasingly frustrated with their favorite players being fined for celebrations after a touchdown. In recent years, the league has been trying to crack down on excessive celebrations by players while fans don't really have a problem with them. Apparently, the league is taking notice of the criticisms from its fanbase.

Ian Rapoport and Judy Battista of NFL Network reported on Monday that the NFL may be willing to ease up on the penalties following a scoring play. In 2016, the league issued out $310,000 worth of fines for excessive celebrations according to NFL Network with that number coming from Spotrac.com. That amount is up from just $57,000 in fines from 2015.

"It does seem like we're headed in a direction of fewer penalties and fewer fines for celebrations after touchdowns," Rapoport said.

Battista clarified that the league still does not want any celebrations that may be viewed as offensive or slow down the game itself. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been considering the change since last year but has held off because he wanted to discuss the matter with both ownership and players.

"But [Goodell] doesn't mind players shooting a football like a basketball over the crossbar," Battista said. "He doesn't mind those kinds of spontaneous celebrations. The one last year where [New York Giants receiver] Odell Beckham pretended to take a picture of his teammates after they scored, that kind of thing is fine. No more flags."

Rapoport and Battista also reported that the move to shorten overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes in preseason and regular season games is likely to pass. "This is being framed as a player safety issue to reduce the number of plays players have to endure," Battista reported. "Especially if they have to play on a short week."

Of course, the main concern is that the new overtime rule might lead to more ties. Rapoport believes that coaches will compensate by accelerating play as the clock nears the end of overtime.

The league is also expected to pass a rule that would allow NFL teams to bring back two players from their injured reserve list, rather than just one as the rule currently states.

The NFL's three-day Spring League Meeting kicks off on Tuesday in Chicago, Illinois.
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