The NFL is doing it once again: making changes to a perfect league. According to profootballtalk.com, NFL officials are traveling to training camps to warn teams that they will be cracking down on player celebrations.
According to the official NFL Rules, this includes but is not limited to:
- Sack Dances
- Home-Run Swing
- Incredible Hulk
- Spiking the Ball
- Spinning the Ball
- Throwing or Shoving the Ball
- Pointing or Pointing the Ball
- Verbal Taunting
- Military Salute
- Standing Over an Opponent (Prolonged and with Provocation)
- Throat Slash...Not This
- Sexually-Suggestive Gestures
- Prolonged Gyrations
- Stomping on a Team Logo
Even more interesting, is that this comes from Rule 12, Section 3 of the 2012 Official Playing Rules, but they are just now beginning to enforce the penalties. I for one, think this system of assessing 15 yard penalties is fundamentally flawed. There are levels to the amount of taunting and disrespect players dish out, and I believe there are ways the rules can be appropriately adjusted to suit this.
Similar to the way that minor face mask infractions used to be 5 yard penalties, I believe the same should go for celebrations. Some are much more egregious than others, and that is obvious. DeSean Jackson falling into the endzone should not be a penalty, even if the officials want to crack down on players.
In my opinion, 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties should be only assessed for grossly excessive celebrations that either disrespect the other team, or use props that are not involved with the game of football. Other cases listed in the NFL Rule book, however it is that we may feel about them, should warrant 5 yard delay of game penalties. The Terrell Owens and Randy Moss Celebrations of the early to mid 2000s were not average celebrations, and should be treated as such.