2006
11.12

There is nothing quite like the National Football League. No sports league is more popular in the US, and as such, none is under a bigger microscope.

Each season, the league’s rules committee creates stricter rules, legislating the game piece by piece. Not only do they restrict certain actions or methods of on-field play, they make enormous efforts toward curtailing celebrations of any kind.

As an example, this year the rules committee decided that excessive touchdown celebrations in the end zone will be penalized. The player who scored the touchdown is allowed to celebrate – sort of – but his teammates are not. The scoring player can do a dance, but if his teammates join in, a penalty is called.

It is, to be frank, completely insane.

I’m not sure what it is about showboating that drives the league’s blue-hairs so crazy. It doesn’t offend the average fan; proven by the fact that ESPN runs highlight packages showcasing the “best end zone celebrations”. It doesn’t impact gambling – the single most influential and important aspect to the success of the league. In fact, in my opinion, end zone celebrations are often rather entertaining, especially the more creative ones.

The NFL rules committee is perhaps the best in sports when it comes to responding to on-field disputes that arise. You’ll recall the controversy a few years back when, at the end of a playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders, Tom Brady appeared to fumble the ball, but it was ruled an incomplete forward pass. That off-season, the infamous “tuck rule” was enacted to prevent confusion on such plays in the future. This sort of thing – in lower-profile incidents – happens every off season, and the committee is, more often than not, right on top of the situation. But in the case of excessive celebration, that is one instance where it would behoove them to back off and let the creativity unfold.

After all, it’s hard to score a touchdown in the NFL. Why not let the players enjoy it?

  1. Because the more time the players are having fun means the less time the NFL can sell for commercials because people at home want to see the show, too.

  2. I dunno. I’m going to borrow Joe Horn’s cell phone he’s got tucked in the goal post to call someone and find out.