Archive for Sunday, April 9, 2006

Limits needed, or NFL becomes XFL

Crackdown on over-the-top celebrations long overdue, and players’ union agrees

April 9, 2006


— America's most popular sport and national passion is doing quite wonderfully without some fool deciding that scoring a touchdown is a clarion signal for him to pat the football as if he were burping a baby.

(That, by the way, is the first time in my 24 years as a journalist I have included the word "burping" in my copy).

Anyway, the NFL last week overwhelmingly and rightfully put the brakes on the over-the-top antics some players lately have included in their touchdown celebrations.

The NFL didn't stop the celebrations by any means. Chad Johnson's Riverdance and Tony Gonzalez's spike over the crossbar still are allowed, so the reactionaries arguing the NFL is cracking down on all the fun are off the mark.

But the Worm, the snow angel and Steve Smith's rowing of the boat have gone in the same trash heap as the throat slash.

This, I believe, is about the time detractors typically launch into their tired diatribe about how limits on tastelessness are an example of NFL standing for No Fun League.

Those folks think it's in the fans' interest to have athletes they admire closely resemble Hollywood actors no one respects.

But that isn't the point.

"We want celebrations, but we don't want it where you cross the line," Kansas City coach Herm Edwards said. "These guys are creative, and they'll come up with some stuff. But I don't like it where you embarrass the other team."

Without limits, the celebrations would become more outrageous. And that would turn the NFL into a giant, freaky XFL, which isn't what anyone wants because, judging from the failure of that league, folks would lose interest after three weeks.

No doubt someone out there also will wrongly attach race to this issue and argue this crackdown represents the NFL's white establishment sticking it to the black players, trying to keep them down, so to speak.

Get knowledge, people.

The truth is the NFL Players Assn., headed by a black man and made up of a majority black membership, asked the NFL to curb the end-zone insanity.

And NFL coaches such as Edwards, Dennis Green and Tony Dungy - who are black - agree with the new limits.

There is no doubt the NFL is theater and entertainment, and the players are truly creative people.

But we need proper channeling here. The drama happens in those 100 yards where the game is played, not the 10 yards where the celebrations play out.

When Marvin Harrison scores on an 80-yard pass from Peyton Manning and simply hands the ball to the official afterward, that is still great theater, and the play was all the creativity I needed.

But when Chad Johnson perpetrates a mock marriage proposal with an unsuspecting cheerleader, that is not great drama.

That's simply bad acting.


Fatty_McButterpants 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm glad they are doing this. Especially when you see those idiots who are losing by 30 points, score a touchdown and proceed to act as those they just scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. Guess what? You are still losing so what do you have to be so excited about??

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