The Pittsburgh Steelers had some of the best celebrations in the NFL last season. So it was somewhat surprising when Mike Tomlin said at the NFL meetings in Orlando that he believes they are a bad example for “young people.”
Tomlin said via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, “It’s for the entertainment of the fans, so I respect it on that level, but personally I don’t like it. I just think it takes away from the game. It’s not a good look for young people. Young people aren’t allowed to celebrate in that way [during games], so why should we?”
So, Tomlin has two points to his dislike of celebrations. But they’re not good ones.
Celebrations don’t take anything away from the game. Points are not docked, it doesn’t extend the time of the game, and nobody (for the most part) gets injured. Players have worked hard all their lives, and during the offseasons to get those sweet moments of triumph. Celebrating them doesn’t hurt, and it’s fun for the players. The game needs it.
They’re not a “bad look” for young people, either. Kids, and people of all ages, enjoy celebrations. Are there some old grumps who think they have no place in the game? Absolutely. But the celebrations aren’t teaching kids to be savages out on the football field or anything. In fact, I’d argue it would only make kids want to be better, since the best skill position players are the ones getting the big-play opportunities. But of course, that doesn’t limit everybody else from getting involved.
And sure, kids aren’t allowed to celebrate in youth leagues and high school football around America, but that doesn’t justify Tomlin’s position.
All of this is funny, because in October, he said he didn’t mind the celebrations. When asked about JuJu Smith-Schuster’s hide-and-seek celebration with Le’Veon Bell after a touchdown against the Bengals, Tomlin said, “I have no problem with the celebrations. JuJu’s cute and all of that, provided it doesn’t cost our football team.”
He also referenced the eased rules on celebrations, which were implemented last season. “I think they are doing the necessary research to make sure they are within the lines.”
The Steelers are still going to celebrate in 2018, it’s what they do. With personalities like Smith-Schuster, Bell, and Antonio Brown, it would be ridiculous for them not to. It just wouldn’t be them.
It’s also sort of surprising Tomlin would take this stance, which is similar to Marvin Lewis’. He’s one of the younger coaches in the NFL, and he’s also been known to call a cool timeout or two. He’s smooth.
As long as the Steelers continue to perform on the field, Tomlin probably won’t say anything about the celebrations to his own squad.
Now if somebody wants to celebrate by going on Facebook Live, that’s a different story.