Let’s grade Roger Goodell’s ideas for improving the NFL viewing experience


Roger Goodell may be a divisive figure in the world of football, but he’s got at least one thing going for him: The NFL commissioner is opposed to television broadcasts going commercial break-kickoff-commercial break after a score.

That was among the revelations in a great story from USA Today about planned changes in NFL game broadcasts for this year and the future.

So while we have some issues with Goodell’s attempts to mete out justice, we have to applaud him for this.

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Goodell, like his Major League Baseball counterpart Rob Manfred, seems to grasp that pace of play is more important than length of game, although addressing the former should help with the latter.

"What we're looking to do is take that down time out, which is not entertaining," Goodell said. "And in our research, we had biofeedback, so we could see what they were watching and you could tell when they're not as interested in what's happening in the broadcast.

"In today's day and age, we have to give our fans every reason to watch what's happening, find what they see on television and in the stadium as compelling. Don't give them a reason to turn away."

Here are three A-plus ideas from the commissioner and the league:

  • Commercial breaks will be longer but less frequent. 

This is a great idea as it gives fans more continual action and a better chance to get wrapped up in the action — not to mention an extra 30 seconds to go to the bathroom or get a refreshment.

  • The number of in-game promotions for the NFL and its partners will be reduced in favor of highlights and/or analysis. 

So, you know, football stuff. In a football broadcast. Brilliant!

  • "Double-ups" — the commercial break/kickoff/commercial break thing — might not be eliminated, but they will at least be reduced.

Goodell said they occurred on 27 percent of kickoffs last year. If it seemed like more, well, maybe that tells us something about how much they detract from the viewing experience.

The league will also do some things to tighten up the timing around players going out of bounds, halftime and possibly scoring plays.

There might also finally be full-time officials.

Those things are nice, but I am more excited about the first three.

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