The NFL has earned the derisive nickname “No Fun League” by banning various forms of festivity in recent years. Celebrations involving props and multiple teammates, among others, have gone by the wayside.
Some of the rules make sense, taking aim at excessive showboating or acts that truly test the boundaries of sportsmanship. Others seem silly to most rational and fun-loving fans. The edict handed down Tuesday falls into the second category: A celebratory spike dunk through over the goalposts will now draw a 15-yard penalty.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham — a frequent goalpost dunker in past seasons who even caused a delay last year after bending the goalpost while dunking (the only marginally acceptable reason for this rule), tweeted: “I guess I’ll have to lead the @nfl in penalties next year! #funpolice.”
Alas, the tweet was deleted shortly thereafter. Have the fun police gotten to him, too?
We perish the thought of what the future of the No Fun League holds if these trends continue. But here is a crystal ball look at other demonstrations that could be banned:
• High-fives: This classic sports staple of interaction between excited teammates could prove to be a little too demonstrative for the No Fun League. Think of how an opponent might feel when reflecting on his failure contrasting with your success. Is that the kind of message the league wants to send? What’s wrong with a knowing glance — or better yet, an expressionless display of mutual respect? As a corollary, don’t even think about fist bumps or finger guns unless you want to go from a penalty to a full-blown ejection.
• Spiking the football: The NFL already has outlawed some acts of spiking, including, of course, the ban on the goalpost dunk spike. At some point, why not just get rid of the spike altogether? For those who don’t want to simply hand the ball to the referee, placing it on the ground next to an end zone pylon will be acceptable.
• Raising arms in celebration after a game-winning field goal: Kickers get a few moments of glory every season, and man aren’t they showy about it? In the future, I envision no embraces with the holder, no body language while the ball is in the air and certainly no post-kick celebrations.
• Gatorade bath: The field gets sticky. The coach could catch a cold. What’s to love about dumping Gatorade all over the place? Nothing, that’s what. Let’s replace it with a calm handshake (two seconds or less) and a celebratory glass of lukewarm water.