Spinning the Ball Will Get You a Penalty Because the NFL Is No Fun

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterAugust 6, 2013

Continuing its constant pursuit to strip every fun aspect of football from the sport, the NFL has warned teams it will now penalize players who dare to spin the ball in celebration.

Finally, the scourge threatening to destroy the proud league has been vanquished.

Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith reports players are being told that a rule on the books since last season will now be enforced:

Reports today from members of the media at Vikings camp and Panthers camp indicate that referees working training camps are warning players that they’ll be penalized if they taunt opponents by spinning the ball.

Please celebrate your remarkable touchdown in a reserved and sensible manner.

As Smith reports, the rule itself isn't new. According to the 2012 list of official rules, the following portion is noted as acts that will garner unsportsmanlike penalties and a subsequent 15 yards:

These acts include but are not limited to: sack dances; home run swing; incredible hulk; spiking the ball; throwing or shoving the ball; pointing; pointing the ball; verbal taunting; military salute; standing over an opponent (prolonged and with provocation; or dancing.

Perhaps the officials were just trying to give players a year to get accustomed to the rule, or maybe referees have seen quite enough of your mad spinning antics.

Either way, it's clear the era of merely spinning the ball as each team sends out its kicking unit and the network readies for commercials will not be tolerated.

Now to be fair, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy cleared things up a bit with this tweet (h/t ESPN): 

Because we know officials are so fantastic at discerning something so subjective, we expect nothing but smooth sailing. 

Spinning the ball may be the headline action, but Smith noted some other unsportsmanlike acts like the ones seen below. Sure sifting through what might be legal and illegal seems cumbersome, but that now seems to be the plight of NFL officials. 

Oh, the villainy. 

The first video shows B.J. Raji sprinting (loafing?) into the end zone while point the ball and then dancing. We assume this would garner a flag in a two-for-one act of fun. 

Now the second video, like the first, contains a healthy amount of acts that would go unnoticed and hardly garner a penalty. However, the brilliance at the :33 second mark sure looks like a sack dance to me. 

Now, some of you may love the vigilance to keep the flashy look-at-me dances out of the end zone, but do we really care about spinning the ball?

I'll agree that it looks great when a guy scores and doesn't act like it's his first rodeo, walking away with little celebration. I just didn't know people were complaining about spinning the ball on the field.

Not to worry, because the report also notes players like the Panthers' Steve Smith are trying to think outside the box to maintain their ball-spinning ways.

Something tells me this won't end well.

Either way, the league has now saved us all from watching celebrating players spinning the ball in the end zone, because it's not like these guys are playing a game for a living or something.

Now, if we could keep the noise in the stadium down to a sensible level, we would really have something.


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