OK — so I get outlawing the sack dance, even though it was wildly entertaining to see Junior Seau lord it over an opponent or a prostrate QB. And taunting had to go simply because it too often led to fights.
But putting the kibosh on end zone celebrations has never made any sense to me. What’s wrong with the offense lining up after a TD and doing a little dance? Or T.O pulling a sharpie out of his sock and signing the football?
Both of those celebratory gestures are now illegal. Most of these “Top 10 Touchdown Celebrations” are too.
Now the NFL wants to ban the iconic “dunk” over the crossbar of the goal posts. And the reason they give for it is stupid:
Not only is the New Orleans Saints’ Jimmy Graham redefining the tight end position, but he has also inspired an NFL rule change. According to the league’s vice president of officiating, players will no longer be allowed to dunk the ball over the goalpost after touchdowns.
Dean Blandino confirmed the rule change during a radio interview with “The Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday. He said dunking the ball over the crossbar will now be considered a foul along with other touchdown celebrations that involve props.
Previously, dunks were grandfathered in as a legal celebration, along with the Lambeau Leap.
“We grandfathered in some, the Lambeau Leap and things like that, but dunking will come out,” Blandino said, according to NFL.com. “Using the ball as a prop or any object as a prop, whether that’s the goalpost, the crossbar, that will come out and that will be a foul next season.”
Graham is clearly the main inspiration for the rule. Twice in his career, his celebratory dunks have knocked the uprights off balance. Last season in Atlanta, a Thursday night game had to be delayed while workers releveled the crossbar.
And no player in the NFL will be more affected by the rule change than Graham, who has caught more touchdown passes over the past three seasons (36) than anyone else in the league. A former basketball player at the University of Miami, the 6-foot-7 Graham has made the goalpost dunk his trademark celebration.
Graham responded to the news in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.
I guess I’ll have to lead the @nfl in penalties next year! #funpolice pic.twitter.com/MQRFXgvaGN
If you can’t use the ball as a prop, why can you spike it? How can a stationary crossbar be a prop? The crossbar is part of the field. It doesn’t make any sense.
If the NFL had their druthers, they’d probably want the guy scoring the touchdown to hand the ball to the ref and then go over to the opposing bench and beg forgiveness for torching their free safety. So many of these rules against celebrations are put in because it supposedly angers the opponent. I say let ‘em stew. Football ain’t tiddlywinks and if you get your butt beat or you miss a tackle, the least of your punishment should be witnessing an ecstatic, choreographed celebration in the endzone. Your real ordeal will happen on Tuesday at film study when the coach rips into you for your mistakes.
If the league continues to constrain the natural inclination of players to celebrate a touchdown, pretty soon, NFL will stand for the “No Fan League.”