April 01, 2004
The No Fun League

Was this rule change really necessary?

On the last day of their spring meetings, NFL owners cracked down on premeditated celebrations by two or more players and the use of such "foreign objects" as cell phones and Sharpies anywhere on the field.

As expected, the owners voted 31-1 Wednesday to penalize a team 15 yards if a player or players violate the rule. Players also will be fined as they have in the past.

Oakland was the only team to vote against what is basically an amended rule.

"We're not changing the rule; we're just enforcing it," said Atlanta general manager Rich McKay, co-chairman of the league's competition committee. "Now, a player can be fined and penalized for violating the rule."

The NFL says it's a violation of the rule if players perform anywhere on the field acts that include but are not limited to throat slash, machine gun salute, sexually suggestive gestures, prolonged gyrations or stomping on a team logo.

Also subject to a penalty if they're directed at an opponent are sack dances, home-run swing, incredible hulk, spiking the ball, spinning the ball, throwing or shoving the ball, pointing, pointing the ball, verbal taunting, military salute, standing over an opponent, or dancing.

"We voted for it," Texans general manager Charley Casserly said. "We don't think those kinds of celebrations have a place in the game. We're not opposed to individual celebrations as long as they're not taunting the opponent."

What's the big deal? Sure it's childish when a player does that stuff. So what? Isn't this supposed to be about entertainment? Are people not tuning in because Sam Horn stuck a cell phone in the goal post pads and made an ass of himself after scoring a touchdown? Have any sponsors (like, say, any of the male-performance "get back in the game" products) dropped the NFL because of this? Does anyone other than a few stuffed shirt sportswriters really care?

It's their game and they can do what they want. I'll still watch. And I admit, I'm bothered a lot less by this sort of thing than some (many?) people are. But for the life of me, I can't understand the need for official punishment of silliness. Seems to me that if the coaches thought it was a problem for their teams, it would have been stopped a long time ago. So why does the league care?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 01, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack

Do you think the NFL will object if EA Sports uses any of the routines you described in your post just happen to appear in the next Madden game? Of course not. The reason is simple:

(cue bass line and cash register)

$$$ MONEY $$$

How I long for the days of Billy "White Shoes" Johnson.

Posted by: William Hughes on April 1, 2004 5:52 PM

Check the calendar.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on April 1, 2004 7:52 PM

Well, the rule change was proposed a week ago. This was just the official vote by the owners. So, I don't think it's a gag.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on April 1, 2004 8:04 PM

Who cares about the stupid N.F.L. anyway??? I know I sure don't. I find North American football extremely boring, the N.C.A.A. especially. In case you are wondering, I am a fan of MetroStars and Manchester United. No joke.

Posted by: Johnny Flushing on December 21, 2005 8:15 PM

Its comical that the NFL would ban the actions that have made American football the cash cow that is and fueled the ESPN highlight sports culture that we all love. Oh and to the guy that only likes soccer. Ok im an American I like soccer. I love to watch a match on the pitch and even call it football around other people and I have a deep understanding of the game, but for you to call it boring is crazy. You need to put down the stupid juice. American football is a gladiator sport and is about as exciting as you can get short of Rome. Im sure it puts your panties in a buch that the Red Devils are owned by the same dude that owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Posted by: Robert Johnson on August 28, 2006 9:58 PM