The NFL is going to ease up on celebration penalties ... finally. Roger Goodell released a letter that announced group celebrations, going to the ground, using the ball as a prop, etc., will now be allowed.
But they’re not going to completely surrender their reputation as the No Fun League. Anything with a little too much sexiness is still going to be verboten, stuff like twerking, hip thrusting, crotch grabbing, etc. Also banned still is anything involving a player mimicking a weapon (no bow-and-arrow shoots) or “prolonged” celebrations (gotta keep that clock moving). According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, dunking on the goal post is still a penalty as well.
The move is a response to criticism over a seemingly excessive amount of celebration penalties in 2016. There were 16 conduct flags through the first six weeks of the season, spurring complaints the NFL had become the “No Fun League.” In fewer than two months, more than $340,000 in fines was levied against players for violations like hugging referees, using the ball as a prop, and acts as egregious as a 1.5-second choreographed dance.
The change will be welcomed by officials and players alike. Scott Green, executive director of the NFL Referees Association, told SiriusXM Radio listeners, “Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone.
“We don’t really enjoy that. If we could get to a point where it would simply be fines by the league, that would be great. The issue we’ll still have is that guys can get pretty creative out there. The question of whether it’s a foul or not a foul, hopefully we’ll get closer to more of a black-and-white situation.”
That means snowangels are still allowed
Michael Bennett is still too sexy for the NFL, and this isn’t allowed
Terrelle Pryor can now legally do LeBron James’ “Silencer” celebration
Antonio Brown still can’t twerk, though
Chandler Jones’ 2 step won’t get him a flag anymore
Hugging the referee is still a no-no
The new rule will give officials some leeway in calling these penalties, allowing them to issue an unofficial warning before a celebration can cross the line. However, since most celebrations come and go in a matter of seconds, it’s unclear just how effective a warning system will be.