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Celebrate Good Times?

October 18th, 2016

New Orleans’ Saints Brandin Cooks pretending to shoot a bow and arrow. Image credit: screen grab from CBS Sports

So much hard work (on and off the field) goes into scoring a touchdown in the N.F.L. Your teammates and the crowd cheering for you. The emotion and the energy is intense. So you celebrate that moment’s victory — in your own way. If you’re Cam Newton, you dabbed. If you’re Victor Cruz, you salsa dance.

But if you’re Victor Cruz salsa dancing and your teammate, Odell Beckham Jr. runs up to you pretending to take a picture of you with an imaginary camera? That’ll be $24,000 in fines.

As James Kratch from NJ.com wrote, “that’s some expensive salsa.”

Wait, what? $24,000? Why?

The NFL is trying to crack down on excessive end zone celebrations. They say celebrating is fine up to a point. But if it’s too much, it’ll cost you. A lot.

So what’s okay and what’s too much?

The N.F.L.’s rules say you can express your emotion … BUT don’t pre-plan it, choreograph it, involve your team mates, be on the ground (unless you’re praying, then it’s ok, but not if you’re making snow angels), take too long, take your helmet off … or pretend the football is a golf ball and putt it with an end zone pylon ($5,000 fine), miraculously find a Sharpie in your socks and sign the football you just scored a touchdown with, grab a cheerleader’s pompoms to add a little pizazz to the celebration, or put on a sombrero and poncho after a touchdown ($30,000 fine) — all true stories.

Many people would say those don’t all belong in the same category, that taking off your helmet for the cameras, for example, isn’t the same as making an inappropriate or violent gesture. And some would argue that pretending to shoot a bow and arrow isn’t exactly that violent given the times we live in.

So where do you draw the line?

Recently, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown made the point that he shouldn’t be  fined more  for his (arguably inappropriate) celebration that wasn’t hurting anyone … than the fine for helmet-to-helmet hits than cause a lifetime of brain injury.

And those who think the rules have gone too far say the N.F.L. is taking the joy out of football, calling it the No Fun League instead. Antonio Brown added, “I can’t stop having fun.”

Even the TV announcers seemed perplexed when Washington Redskins’ Josh Norman was recently fined for shooting a pretend bow and arrow.

But others worry that if they don’t put a stop to some of the over-the-top celebrating now, then it’s just going to continue to get out of hand, take longer, use more props, be more disrespectful to opponents, be more of a distraction to the game.

Some players are charging that the N.F.L. is being too controlling. Cleveland Browns’ Andrew Hawkins recently responded after scoring a touchdown by placing the ball gently on the ground and walking away like a robot .

Is putting your personal stamp on a celebration just a part of the game, kind of like an adding an exclamation point to an already exciting play?

What message does celebrating excessively send to kids? When does it become poor sportsmanship?

What limits, if any, do you think there should be on end zone celebrating? How much is too much?

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4 Comments on “Celebrate Good Times?”

  • Justin says:

    You know better NFL. Let the players celebrate. You can fine them if they are doing something stupid but why not celebrate after a touchdown. Its exciting!

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