National Football League confirms plans to cut commercial breaks

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Author

25 March, 2017

In a note to fans, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is working with broadcasters to speed up the action and, in particular, to chop one of the most annoying commercial breaks in most NFL games.

"Together with our broadcast partners, we will be working to meaningfully reduce down time and the frequency of commercial breaks in our game", Mr. Goodell wrote. "We may go to a double box so the fans know they're not missing anything and the referee still isn't ready to make the decision and then, when he does, it's possible the networks would complete a commercial and then cover that". I'm in there too. He added in the email, "Our goal is to eliminate it".

To combat that, Goodell went on the offensive and released a letter to National Football League fans talking about how the owners, at their annual owners meeting, will be discussing how to increase the pace of play.

The letter from the league also indicated that owners will vote next week on centralizing the replay system, which would give the league headquarters in NY final say in reviews.

Goodell publicly addressed the plummeting ratings, but said the new changes were prompted by viewer feedback that the league has been gathering since before the 2016 season.

By having all reviews decided in NY, primarily by director of officiating Dean Blandino, there would be more uniformity in decisions, and they probably would take less time. This will help speed up play.

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"We have seen commercialization maybe creep into the game in areas that we don't think is appropriate", Goodell told him.

"It drives me insane", Goodell told USA TODAY Sports when asked how he feels when games are interrupted by commercial breaks. "Everyone's going to make other comments, and obviously we're respectful of those comments, particularly from the president", he said.

"More than anything, just like you're trying to get a good shot, we're trying to run a good play", Belichick tells Krzyzewski.

Cutting down on the number of commercials is unlikely to happen anytime soon: The NFL and its partner TV networks generate a ton of revenue from ad sales - Super Bowl LI ads cost about $5 million.

The commissioner was unsure when asked if comments from influential non-sports figures might dissuade teams from signing players. Instead of having five or six commercial breaks per quarter, fans will only be subjected to four per period. You can try explaining these incidents away, but it's still hard to feel great about Blandino being in charge.


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