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With proposed changes, NFL aims to cut down on commercial breaks, speed up games

Why it matters to you

America's most popular sport just might become more irresistible as the NFL adjusts the game-viewing experience in response to fan concerns.

Watching an NFL football game is a serious time commitment. For every second of action on the field, we spend several more waiting for the next play to start or, worse, watching commercials. Things are looking up, though: Commissioner Roger Goodell has revealed that the league has started looking at ways to speed up the game and address other fan concerns.

Perhaps the most exciting change that Goodell announced is a reduction in the number of commercial breaks and in total ad time. That annoying commercial-kickoff sandwich, for example? Goodell told USA Today on Wednesday that he hates it, too.

“It drives me crazy,” the commissioner said. “We call those ‘double-ups.’ They actually occurred 27 percent of the time (on kickoffs last season). And that’s still too high for us.”

Cutting back on double-ups sounds good, and it’s just the starting point. The league also plans to go down to four commercial breaks per quarter instead of the pattern we’ve become used to — five breaks in the first quarter, and then six, five, and five in the subsequent quarters. However, before you get too excited, know that the commercial breaks will become 30 seconds longer, going from a minute and 50 seconds to 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Based on the numbers Goodell provided, the new pattern only shaves about a minute and 10 seconds of commercial break time over the course of a game, but it may seem like a big improvement to viewers. The NFL’s research indicates that the number of breaks is more noticeable to fans than the actual length of them. It just gives us more time to make our nachos or post our reactions.

Also coming this fall with the new season will be tweaks to replays and the timing of the game. For example, the league plans to institute of a play clock after extra points and maybe even after touchdowns, as Goodell described in an email to NFL fans, according to Deadline. He also suggested that player celebration rules may get more lax, so keep your fingers crossed for more end zone antics. The league will vote on the issues at its annual meeting, which starts Sunday, meaning we’ll likely see more changes soon.

Goodell told USA Today that the changes weren’t related to last season’s ratings dip, but they may help all the same.