The NFL is yet again cracking down on “celebrations”. Various rule changes have been enacted in recent years to try and stem the tide. These rule changes range from not using the ball as a prop, group “dances” and dunking the ball over the crossbar. Of course, this has led to complaining by fans (have you ever said NFL means No Fun League), and crybaby theatrics from players that the league is trying to stifle “self expression”. OH PHU-LEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZZZEEEEEEEE! Personally, I think the so-called celebrations in the NFL for anything from scoring a touchdown to taking a drink of Gatorade without it running down a player’s chin have gone way too far and need to stop.
Football is a team game. “Celebrations”, on the other hand are fake demonstrations of excitement and jubilation. They’re selfish, staged, planned and rehearsed “look at me” moments. Where else in sports can you be cheered for making a spectacle of yourself?
Rewind to the late 70s, early 80s. If a player jubilantly spiked the ball in the end zone it was an anomaly. Then came the me-first era of the 1980s. I believe it was Billy “White Shoes” Johnson of the Houston Oilers who started this plague with his goofy dances in the end zone after scoring on a kick return or a pass play.
Fast forward to today. Players do their stupid dances, gyrations, marriage proposals and what not after darn near every play. A guy makes a tackle and he makes in idiot out of himself. I guy runs for 15 yards and he pulls this “look at me” posture.
Football is probably the epitome of the team game. No single player makes a sack all on his own. No receiver or running back scores without a little help from his friends (10 of them to be exact). That said, what’s the point in doing some stupid “look at me” dance?
Blame Johnson. Blame Chad Johnson too. While we’re blaming Johnsons, blame Johnson & Johnson (the band-aid company). And Terrell Owens. And Sean Merriman. And that 350 pound behemoth of a defensive lineman. And everyone else who has to try to get one up on the guy before him. And the networks for putting their stupidity on camera. They’ve just gotten plain stupid. Everyone’s a copy cat. This is their job: to make tackles, to score touchdowns, to sack the quarterback. Act like it’s just another day at the office.
Look at it from another angle: in 2001, Bill Gramatica (not to be confused with his older brother Martin), tore the ACL in his planting leg celebrating a successful field goal. In 1997, Gus Frerotte, quarterback for the Washington Redskins, ran for a one yard touchdown. He ran through the end zone, spiked the ball and headbutted a wall, knocking himself out of the game with a neck strain. Last week, Steven Tulloch of the Detroit Lions tore his ACL doing a sack dance. Heck of a way to break a 131 consecutive game streak, huh? Still think “celebrations” are OK?
This isn’t just limited to the NFL. In 2010, Kendry Morales of the then Anaheim Angels broke his ankle jumping into his teammates at home plate “celebrating” a walk-off home run.
The league is full of “Joneses” and now everyone’s just trying to keep up. If the NFL doesn’t try to stop celebrations for the sheer idiocy of the idea, not to mention the SELFISHNESS of it, then maybe the Lord Almighty Roger Goodell can spin a player safety angle for it. At any rate, it’s time for the idiocy to come to a screeching halt.