Celebrate good times: National Football League easing rules on TD celebrations

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In 2016, National Football League officials called 30 penalties on celebrations - more than in the previous two seasons combined and six times as many as there were just four seasons ago.

The expected result of this rule change is that the pace of play will be much slower in overtime games.

Two games in 2016 (Washington at Cincinnati and Seattle at Arizona) ended in ties.

The second change brings relief to fans and players alike.

This isn't a complete overhaul of the celebration penalties, but it is a step in the right direction.

"We are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays", Goodell wrote to fans. Of the past three seasons, it has the highest cost of fines for touchdown celebrations at $310,301, up more than $240,000 from the 2015 season.

As it turns out, the league is reversing some of the harsh restrictions on celebrations, allowing props, group acts and snow angels.

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The NFL also made provisions to "leaping". "We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown", said Goodell.

"We don't think it will lead to more ties", Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday, joining a number of coaches who said they expect a more aggressive strategy during the shorter extra period.

At the league's annual meeting in March, owners banned leaping over the offensive line to block kicks, approved instant ejections for egregious head-to-head hits and OK'd centralized replay review from the NFL officiating command center in NY.

The league, however, will continue to penalize any celebration deemed offensive or in bad taste, including those that embarrass opponents or mimic the use of weapons.

Owners voted to eliminate the mandatory reduction from 90 to 75 players.

Also approved at the meeting was the Oakland Raiders lease for a stadium in Las Vegas, where the team is expected to play the 2020 season. They can return to games eight weeks after being put on injured reserve. Previously, only one could be recalled from IR during the season.