NFL commercial breaks in 2017 will be less frequent, but they'll be longer

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Wednesday March 22nd, 2017

Good news, NFL fans: Games are going to feature fewer commercial breaks. 

Bad news: Those commercial breaks are going to be longer. 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced several changes on Wednesday in a letter to fans, with the goal being to improve pace of play. 

Instead of five or six commercial breaks per quarter, games will now largely adhere to a four-per-quarter policy, according to USA TodayThose commercial breaks will increase from 1:50 in length to 2:20, as Goodell told USA Today that the league's research indicates fans are more aware of fewer breaks than the length of breaks.

“We have seen commercialization maybe creep into the game in areas that we don’t think is appropriate,” Goodell told USA Today, “and we’re going to work with our network partners to try to pull that back, to make sure that we can create that compelling experience for our fans.”

Goodell announced several other changes and proposals as well. Television networks won't necessarily take a break after an extra point, and when they don't there will be a play clock before the kickoff to speed up the game. The league also said it is considering instituting a play clock following touchdowns. 

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Goodell said the league's goal is to eliminate commercial breaks in between the extra point and the kickoff. 

The NFL will also put in place a rule to standardize the re-start of the clock after a runner goes out of bounds. The length of halftime will also be standardized, the league said. 

Owners will also vote on changes to the replay system. One proposal is to scrap the replay booth and instead have the official look at the replay on a tablet, with the league's central officiating headquarters in New York making the final call. 

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