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2017 NFL rule changes: Overtime shortened, second return from IR designation, more

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The league adopted three more significant rules changes on Tuesday.

Super Bowl Winner - Press Confernce Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The NFL owners had a busy Tuesday addressing league issues and adopting new rules. We already know that the league addressed the growing complaints from fans and players about the strictness of celebration rules by legalizing celebrations involving groups or using the ball as a prop.

However, the league also announced several other very important changes to the game that could have significant effects on the game in 2017. Here’s a brief look at the biggest changes.

Overtime moves from 15 minutes to 10

In an effort to shorten games and potentially prevent further injuries, overtime will now end after 10 minutes, if not decided earlier.

The rest of the overtime rules will remain the same. Provided that the first possession doesn’t end with a touchdown, both teams will get a chance to possess the ball once. After that, it becomes sudden death: The first team to score wins.

What does this mean?

It’s pretty self-explanatory. Overtime games will be shorter, and as a result, there could be an increase in ties. Last year, there were two ties, and as Dave Birkett pointed out, there would have been more if overtime was only 10 minutes. Obviously, this could change teams’ strategies in overtime, forcing them to become more aggressive earlier in the extra frame to avoid a tie.

One thing to look out for is the possibility of both teams no longer getting an offensive possession in overtime. Teams regularly have possessions that last over 10 minutes, and this rule change could infringe on the league’s efforts to give both teams a possession.

No more 75-man cutdown deadline

Prior to 2017, teams were required to cut their 90-man roster down to 75 before the final preseason game. Then a few days later, after the preseason concluded, teams would cut their roster from 75 to 53 in preparation for the regular season.

Now the league has voted to eliminate the 75-man cutdown completely. In other words, there will only be a single deadline for teams to meet: Cutting the roster to 53 after the final preseason game.

What does this mean?

While teams are still more than welcome to make their roster cuts early, this rule change will result in most teams carrying more players into the final preseason game. That will give players at the bottom of the roster one more chance to prove their worth or provide valuable tape for teams looking at the waiver wire.

Teams can have a second player return from injured reserve

Back in 2012, the league added a rule that a player placed on injured reserve during the season could return to the active roster if given the one designation allowed by the team. The new rule allows teams to do that twice during the season.

What does this mean?

Teams can now be a little more liberal with their use of the IR designation and their choices in who to return. Knowing that they have two exceptions now, teams may place a few extra players on IR to free up a roster spot, knowing they can get an extra player back. It’s important to note, however, that teams will still be required to wait eight weeks to activate a player that has been placed on IR.