Once upon a time, NFL home teams could actually be penalized if the noise in the stadium was so loud that it legitimately disrupted the visitors’ offense. Though that stupid rule has long since been abandoned, the league has maintained for 21 years a ban on using video messages to encourage fans to get loud.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that this rule was wiped off the books at last week’s league meetings in Orlando. And so teams will now be permitted to display messages like “Noise” and “Raise the Roof” and “Pump It Up” (but hopefully not “Simultaneous Fart in 3 . . . 2 . . . and 1 . . . !”).
The goal? To make the experience more enjoyable for fans who have increasingly improving home technology where they can watch multiple games with their friends (and kill any slow moments with a call for a simultaneous fart in 3 . . . 2 . . . and 1 . . . .) “We want to make it a fun place for the fans to be, and [Commissioner] Roger [Goodell] pushed for this, and we will see how it works,” Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said.
The only catch is that the messages must end “15 seconds before the ball is snapped,” which we assume actually means 15 seconds before the play clock expires, since there’s no way to know when the ball will be snapped, and thus no way of counting 15 seconds back from an unknown point.
Kaplan points out that no vote of the owners was required for the measure because it does not alter the rules of the game.
That said, it definitely will impact the experience for the road teams, especially in venues with lids.