NFL fans who complain that about broadcasts taking too many commercials and games taking too long may be getting their wishes realized.
In a letter to fans on Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league has been gathering feedback from fans since before the start of the 2016 season and has been working with broadcast partners to address some of the complaints raised.
Chief among them is the feeling that games have too many interruptions, some of that because of the amount of commercials, the time in between scores and the next drive, and the length of replay reviews.
“Consistently, we heard from fans that we can improve in two key areas: the flow and pace of the game, and commercialization and the number of unnecessary disruptions to the game on the field,” Goodell wrote.
“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.”
Goodell also noted that there are “too many elements in the broadcast that aren’t relevant to the play on the field.”
Instead, he believes that a greater focus on content that is “most compelling,” such as analysis, highlights and stories about the players, will improve the feel of a broadcast.
At the NFL meetings next week, teams will vote on a change to “centralize” reviews. Plays that need to be reviewed will be done so by having a tablet brought to the referee for review on the field and in consultation with the officiating headquarters in New York.
“This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process,” Goodell wrote.
In addition, Goodell notes that the league will institute a play clock following an extra point and is considering a play clock after a touchdown, in addition to standardizing the starting of the clock after a runner goes out of bounds and the length of halftimes to “return to the action as quickly as possible.”
In the eyes of the commissioner, fans want “a competitive game with fewer interruptions and distractions from the action.”