The NFL owners are wrapping up annual March meetings, and I wanted to touch on a few random things the league decided on. We know about comp picks, but there are a few league-wide items that are intriguing.
The big one came on Tuesday and relates to player health. The league will have certified trainers at each stadium who can call a timeout if a player appears to be disoriented in any way. Neither team will be charged a timeout, and the player can be replaced during that timeout. The impetus for this rule likely stems from the big hit Julian Edelman suffered during the Super Bowl. He appeared out of it, but stayed in the game. Russell Wilson also took a big hit in the NFC Championship Game, and that might have played a part as well.
I think the NFL is usually full of crap with regard to a lot of the safety measures. However, I will give them some credit for attempting to protect players from themselves. As we learned with Chris Borland's apparent August concussion, some players will attempt to stay in the game (or practice) after suffering a concussion, or even a sub-concussion blow. Things like this that can help protect them is a good thing.
You can read some other rule changes HERE.
The other big news related to television. The Jacksonville Jaguars face the Buffalo Bills in London later this year, and the NFL announced they will offer a live stream for most viewers. Those in Jacksonville and Buffalo markets will be able to watch the game on television, but everybody else will be able to watch the game via a digital platform still to be determined. My guess is they end up showing the game on their YouTube channel, but in reality it could come down to who offers the most money.
This is kind of a huge deal. The league has slowly offered more games on digital platforms in conjunction with their televised broadcast. As more and more people cut the cord with the cable company (well for cable, not for Internet), we are approaching the day you can enjoy regular broadcasts through a normal streaming platform. DirecTV has offered more and more options, but there is money to be made for the league.
The other interesting news from Monday saw the league vote to suspend the blackout policy for one year. There were no blackouts last year, and the league has been able to avoid blackouts due to a change in the policy in 2012. The league provided teams with an opportunity to set a lower threshold of ticket sales to avoid the blackout. The policy has had no bearing on most teams, but it is a plus seeing the NFL get rid of nuisance rules.