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NFL Approves New Rules For 2017 Season

Overtime. Injured Reserve. Roster cuts. Celebrations! Here’s what’s changing for this season.

Los Angeles Rams Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

NFL owners are in Chicago this week for the NFL Spring Meeting, and as part of the meeting have approved new rules for the upcoming season.


Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a whole letter on this one to convince you, the fan, of how important this is to him and the league. What will be allowed? Using the football as a prop, celebrating on the ground and group celebrations. What won’t? Taunting, anything resembling weapons and anything sexual. Randy Moss’ and Antonio Brown’s butts are seared into the minds of children, you see.

One thing that I can’t help but tie this to? The ratings slide from 2016.

I’d expect that if you polled NFL fans, this rule change would near 100% approval. If the ratings around the league fall again without a political race or Colin Kaepernick to pin them on? I’d expect more rule changes of such popularity next year.

Roster Cuts

Since 2012, NFL teams have been allowed to field 90-man rosters at the beginning of the league year. An initial cutdown from 90 to 75 took place after the penultimate preseason contest before trimming them down to 53 (excluding practice squad selectees) for Week 1. A rule change today will skip that first cut period and allow teams to carry 90 players until the 53-man cuts.

The preseason has two major merits: it allows your top players to gain some comfort with new systems and players and it also allows you to scout the back end of your roster for the deepest section of the depth chart and identify whom to maintain on that aforementioned practice squad. This rule change makes things a bit more interesting for the latter.

With a practice squad of 10 players complementing the 53-man roster, the preseason and training camp lets you keep 63 players. Ultimately, 27 are released into the free agent waters. This rule change means that those players from #64-90 on the Rams’ board get a bit more time to impress. There’s nothing forcing teams from not adopting a major cut before the fourth preseason game, but given the latitude, I’d expect teams to use it. How will this affect preseason rotation strategy in the preseason? To be determined.

Two Players Can Return From IR

Previously, teams were allowed to place a player on injured reserve during the season and bring him before season’s end. This situation was exactly what the Rams were considering with LB Alec Ogletree in 2015 after injuring his ankle.

Overtime To 10 Minutes

Overtime is being cut from 15 minutes to 10 in the name of “player safety.” What a weird half-handed approach to improve overtime.

As this piece at explains, there have been just five ties in the last five seasons. Had overtime ended at 10 minutes instead of 15 there would have been 16. So we’re likely going to see a slight uptick from one tie per season to something around three. Not the biggest deal.

What do you think of the new rules? Anything irk you about these? Hate ties? Are ties evil? Are ties the product of communism? More specifically that creepy 20th century communism and not the kind of lovable, ignorant communism like Ivan Drago or Zangief? Are ties proof of Satan?

(NOTE: I think ties are fine.)