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March 28, 2006

NFL ready to take some of the fun away

ORLANDO - Paul Tagliabue soon will retire as the NFL commissioner, and his imprint will stay on the league for years.

In many ways, that’s wonderful. Tagliabue has built an empire far greater than all the other sports, found a way to keep labor harmony and made sure a bunch of new stadiums got built.

But Tagliabue is a lawyer with the personality of a clam and that brings us to perhaps the only downside of his legacy. There likely will be a rule passed at the league’s spring meeting Wednesday that will further limit celebrations.

Remember Panthers receiver Steve Smith’s boat-rowing act against the Vikings last year? It was the most brilliant and creative celebration in NFL history.

Sadly, if Tagliabue and his cast of robots get their way, Smith’s rowing would draw a 15-yard penalty next season. The league, which previously outlawed choreographed celebrations by multiple players, is now looking to get rid of individual spontaneity.

The league wants to impose a rule that will penalize a player (and perhaps subject him to a fine) if:

1. The player gets on the ground to celebrate after scoring.

2. The player uses the football as a prop in the celebration.

3. The celebration lasts beyond a brief period of time or a warning from an official.

Why not just ban touchdowns?

Smith won’t be the only victim if this rule passes. Cincinnati’s Chad Johnson also is a master of the touchdown celebration. Other players occasionally come up with something good. But the real loser here would be the fans. Smith’s touchdown celebrations were some of the most entertaining moments of last season. They brought humor and energy and didn’t hurt anyone.

That’s what happens when you ask a bunch of guys who think the collective bargaining agreement is interesting reading to determine what’s fun.

Click here to see Smith's celebrations on video from WCNC:

Posted by Observer Sports on March 28, 2006 at 06:00 PM | Permalink


Endzone antics are no class and unsportsmanlike. Players should act like they've been there before instead of like undisciplined 6 year olds.

Posted by: Rich Duff | Mar 29, 2006 4:13:28 AM

I agree with Rich Duff. The end zone celebrations are out of hand the player should act like adults and not a bunch of kids when they are in the end zone. They look like fools doing their silly dances.

Posted by: James Birch | Mar 29, 2006 10:30:24 AM

The NFL is getting closer to the "No Fun League" if this rule passes. The current rules are fine the way they are. Let's not forget that people come to watch and to be ENTERTAINED! Those that agree with the proposed rule change need to loosen up their neck-ties or just watch golf instead.

Posted by: Panthers Fan | Mar 29, 2006 1:24:12 PM

All that jiving and dancing crap is the main reason I quit watching pro football years ago.
That, and 8 million commercials per game,make it unwatchable.

Posted by: clyde hogg | Mar 29, 2006 3:14:55 PM

Oh let's quit dancing around this 800 pound gorilla,you folks who can't dance and who would rather be watching paint dry on a wall are the cause of these new rules.
I bet you prudes have Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction on tape and watch it when the house is empty.Sigh!

Posted by: Concern Westside Taxpayer | Mar 29, 2006 4:34:59 PM

Pat Yasinkas, Steve Smith's celebrations were certainly not spontaneous. They were, by his admission, well-planned in advance.

Posted by: glass | Mar 29, 2006 5:08:11 PM

The worst part about this is the League's horrible excuse that "celebrations slow down the game." Come on now people. There is a playclock. Celebrations don't slow down a game any more than the 20+ commercials they show between the touchdown, the extra point, and the kickoff. Oh wait, the League gets money for those. Hmm....

Posted by: Mark | Mar 29, 2006 9:19:25 PM

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