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How the NFL’s Pace of Play proposals could threaten the Lambeau Leap

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Is the Lambeau Leap doomed in the league’s quest to stop its players from having fun?

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

“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 eliminate it.” - Roger Goodell

On Wednesday afternoon, the NFL sent a surprisingly progressive email to fans pledging to speed up pace of play, as well as addressing further issues with replay. There is nothing more irritating than the situation described in Roger Goodell’s quote above, and I support any and all efforts to fix it.

However, there is something else in this email that Green Bay Packers fans may be interested in:

“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 our game.”

The NFL has a rocky relationship with touchdown celebrations and their reputation as the No Fun League is well and truly earned. They even recently announced that the Competition Committee is working on a video that would aim to distinguish between “appropriate and inappropriate celebrations”. Here, however, they have come up with a clever way of aligning their “speed up the game” interest with their “no celebrations” ideas. Making a team line up immediately for a PAT (or more interestingly a 2-point conversion attempt) would force players to cut celebrations short. The Packers have the most famous touchdown celebration in the NFL, mercifully grandfathered in and free from annoying penalties, but it is highly unlikely that the league would let them run afoul of the actual play clock.

The email also went over a proposed change to replay, with the league office deciding on reviewed plays via tablets held by on-field officials (instead of officials running to a monitor on the sideline), and the league promises to take a look at some of the bloat that makes up the substantive broadcast as well:

“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 our players. “

Most of these are welcome suggestions as commercial breaks and fluff content are increasingly annoying every year. None of these changes are official yet (some of these proposals are still in the “consideration” phase, and nothing has been approved by the teams); however, if these rules were to pass, the Lambeau Leap’s days would be numbered.