By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time in a long time, the NFL suffered a bit of a setback in the ratings department in 2016.
While yes, the NFL was still king when it came to sports ratings, the league did not dominate the way it has grown accustomed to dominating. And so, the league is making some changes.
Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday, by way of email to fans (as shared by Ian Rapoport on Twitter), that the league will be trying to increase the pace of play while also decreasing the frequency of commercial breaks.
“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,” Goodell said. “Our goal is to eliminate it.”
Goodell said that the league will institute a play clock following extra points on occasions where networks don’t head to commercials following touchdowns. The league will consider adding a play clock following all touchdowns, as well.
Additionally, teams will vote next week to centralize the replay system. That will eliminate the need for a referee to walk over to a stationary review station during games. Instead, a tablet will be brought to the official, who will be in communication with the officiating headquarters in New York. The final decision will be made by the officials in New York.
[graphiq id=”X9rw95Vg8d” title=”NFL Viewership for 2015 and 2016″ width=”600″ height=”606″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/X9rw95Vg8d” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]
In a harder-to-define portion of his letter, Goodell promised to try to eliminate all content from game broadcasts that does not relate specifically to the game being played.
“We also know that you feel there are too many elements in the broadcast that aren’t relevant to the play on the field,” Goodell said. “With our partners, we will be looking to instead focus on content that is most complementary and compelling to you — whether that is analysis, highlights or stories about our players.”
Goodell ended his letter by thanking fans and asking them for more feedback as the product begins to get tweaked.
“All of these changes are meant to give you more of what you want: a competitive game with fewer interruptions and distractions from the action,” he said.
The NFL will hold its annual league meeting, beginning Sunday in Phoenix.