MANKATO, Minn. — The NFL has decided that the 2017 season will be a time to celebrate more, but players and teams better make it quick.
The league has opted to relax some previous restrictions on celebrations, including the use of the ball as a prop and group celebrations, but also tightening the reins in select other areas.
The NFL will be implementing a 40-second clock after touchdowns that is designed to expedite point-after-touchdown attempts. If confirmation of a touchdown takes more than 20 seconds, the play clock will be stopped at 20 until the score is confirmed or reversed.
The combination of separate rule changes is designed to allow players to express their excitement spontaneously, yet create a way to expedite the pace of play.
A group of NFL officials explained the policies and other rule changes on Friday at Verizon Vikings Training Camp. The officials played a video that has been delivered to all 32 NFL clubs and answered follow-up questions.
The changes to celebration rules were made after the league consulted with more than 100 players for input.
Here are five quick takeaways from the session:
1. Players are allowed to use the ball as a prop. They are not allowed to use another prop.
Provided examples of prop usage that are still prohibited include: using a pylon to hit the football like one is playing croquet or putt-putt, using any part of the goalpost or trying to dunk a ball over the crossbar, or Ezekiel Elliott's jump into The Salvation Army red kettle last season.
A certain leap into the stands that is adored in Wisconsin is still OK.
Players who emulate the use of a weapon or demonstrate an offensive act will draw a penalty.
2. No leaping across the line of scrimmage on field goals and extra points.
In the past, players were allowed to attempt leaping over the snapper at the line of scrimmage, provided that contact was not made, but that play will be completely eliminated in 2017.
3. On-field replays & central command
Beginning this season — it actually happened in Thursday's Hall of Fame Game — replay review will be conducted on the field using a tablet computer. Officials at each game will have constant communication with the league office, and final decisions on replays will be made from New York.
The old system of having a referee "go under the hood" to review plays on the sideline will be in place if needed.
4. Changes for players' safety
Several rules regarding defenseless receivers, crack-back blocks, permitted target areas of blindside blocks or hitting quarterbacks in the pocket and launching have been strengthened to promote players' safety.
5. Back for another year
Two rules that were implemented in 2016 on a trial basis were renewed for 2017 to allow league officials to gather more data.
The ball again will be spotted at the 25-yard line after kickoffs that result in a touchback.
And, two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against one player will result in ejection from the game.