By Tom Buckley

Let’s be honest.

NFL games are boring.

And they are too long, especially if you are watching on television and are held hostage by replays, red-flag reviews and commercials.

And the NFL seems to be taking the drop in TV ratings seriously.

“If we don’t keep an open mind about preserving some flexibility, any measure of success you have can go away pretty quickly,” NFL Media executive VP and NFL Network president and CEO Brian Rolapp said yesterday, via Broadcasting & Cable. “We look constantly at improving the rules of the game, the safety of the game and the quality of the game — even if that means changing things that some people think are sacred cows.”

Rolapp, who reiterated the league’s position that the election contributed to the decline even if other sports haven’t suffered, identified none of the bovine beasts that could end up on the kill floor. But he raised some of the questions that presumably are being asked within the walls of 345 Park Avenue.

“Could [the games] be shorter? Could they be better? Are replays too long?” he said. “We are constantly looking at those things to make the pace of the games more interesting.”

The problems are deeper than the pace of the game, and speed shouldn’t be embraced at the expense of accuracy or safety.

But it’s good that the league isn’t simply circling the wagons and pretending that all is well. The most important question is whether the efforts to make thing better will work.

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