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Celebration Change For Better In NFL

League to allow more after big plays; Overtime shortened, Second player back from IR


Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson and his teammates can get a little more creative after big plays now, following the NFL's decision to relax the celebration rules for 2017.

The fun is back after a touchdown.

The NFL, which had cracked down on post-big-play celebrations in recent years and flagged many for penalties, reeled back the rules during Tuesday's owners' meeting in Chicago. Now, celebrations while using the football as a prop, celebrating when on the ground and celebrating with a group will be legal once again.

Commissioner Roger Goodell released a letter to fans explaining the move, complete with three gifs with examples of celebrations again allowed.

"We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown," Goodell wrote. "And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements." 

It's the highest-profile rule change, but not the only one, according to multiple reports:

-- Teams will now be allowed to bring back two players from injured reserve during the season and not just one. If two had been allowed in 2016, there was a good chance the Cardinals would have brought back running back Chris Johnson to the active roster in addition to safety Tyvon Branch. Branch had been the pick last year, after both he and Johnson suffered similar groin injuries. Players still have to be on IR a minimum of eight weeks.

-- Overtime periods have been cut from 15 to 10 minutes, something that might have made a difference in the Cardinals' 6-6 overtime tie against the Seahawks last season. The decision was one made to limit the amount of "extra" football played, especially if a team was facing a short week.

"I'm a fan of it," Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer told the "Rich Eisen Show."

-- The process of cutting players in preseason also changed. Previously, teams had to cut from 90 to 75 players before the final preseason game, and then to the final 53-man roster after the preseason ended. There is no longer a 75-man cut – teams will now trim from 90 to 53 men following the final preseason game, allowing for extra bodies available in that exhibition finale. 


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