NFL games to be slightly longer, more correct after rule change?

July 19, 2011|By Matt Vensel

The NFL is making a subtle officiating change in 2011, one that could make games longer but will also give you more time for beer runs and bathroom breaks after touchdowns and field goals. And even extra points.

According to Mike Pereira, who now writes about the refs for FOX Sports after working as the NFL's Vice President of Officiating from 2004 to 2009, the replay official at each NFL game will automatically review all scoring plays to make sure they are legit. If it looks as if the initial call might have been wrong, the replay official will buzz the referee on the field and the referee will stick his head under the hood for a closer look.

This ensures that the officials will get every scoring play right, and that coaches won’t have to challenge a close play at the goal line or an acrobatic touchdown catch because the officials will already be doing it for them.

But Pereira believes the length of games will increase.

“There will be a lot more replay stoppages in 2011, and the length of games will increase,” he wrote. “How many more stoppages and how much more game time will be added? Hard to say, but some have suggested they wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be one per game. ... One extra stoppage per game would add three minutes to the length of the game.”

So the NFL will make sure they get every scoring play right and we’ll get at least one extra beer run during each game? Nice. What’s an extra three minutes of replays and commercials when you’ve waited a whole week for Sunday to roll around?

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