12 Ways You Can Still Celebrate a Touchdown in the NFL
The NFL is cracking down on celebrations—again.
Yes, just when we were all sure the game of football was headed over the cliff and into a dark ravine of debauchery, Roger Goodell and his merry gang of fun-sappers have saved the day.
The reports of the celebratory crackdown came from NBC's Pro Football Talk, which reported that referees will be cracking down on athletes who celebrate by spinning the ball, doing sack celebrations or engaging in any actions perceived as "taunting," per media sources at a couple of NFL training camps.
Is it as bad as it initially sounds? Not quite so—players can still celebrate, but they'll have to be more careful (and creative) than ever if they hope to avoid 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during the 2013-14 season.
Here are the ways you can still celebrate in the NFL.
The Discount Double Check
Aaron Rodgers' signature championship belt move is still in play, meaning opponents of the Green Bay Packers will likely still be getting "discount double checked" all season long in 2013.
As long as Rodgers doesn't pelvis thrust his groin in the face of Marc Trestman, he'll probably be able to avoid a penalty.
Religious displays are still allowed on the football field, provided you don't throw holy water on the opposing defense and yell "Jesus in yo face!" after every touchdown.
Thankfully, kneeling in prayer or pointing a finger up to God still won't set your team back 15 yards.
Great news, guys. You can still injure yourself in mid-celebration and not be penalized.
Granted, this isn't specifically stated in the new NFL rulebook interpretations, but as long as you don't tear your ACL in your opponent's direction or mock him with your compound fracture, you probably won't draw a flag.
Your legend is safe, Bill Gramatica. We wouldn't want you going down as a rule breaker.
Pee Wee Herman Dance
This one is a tossup.
The rules don't necessarily say that Jared Odrick can't do the "Pee Wee Herman" dance after a sack; however, considering Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was on the ground at the time of the celebration, a ref with an itchy finger on the flag might construe the dance as taunting.
If you're going to do the Pee Wee, you're probably safest reserving it for the end zone.
If the salute is your go-to celebration—well, you're not super creative, but you can still go crazy. Just don't salute the opposing team.
The clampdown on celebrations in the NFL is going to focus on any act that is directed near or toward an opponent.
The league hasn't said whether or not saluting the fans of an opposing team is against the rules, but it wouldn't be surprising to see teams flagged for offering any sort of "taunting" gesture toward the stands.
Spinning the Ball
Yes, contrary to the rumors, you can still spin the ball in the NFL.
There is a catch, however. According to NFL public relations man Brian McCarthy, players will be penalized if they spin the ball "at" opponents. In other words, don't do it in other players' faces after a first-down catch.
So spin away, Steve Smith. Just wait to get into the end zone and don't do it at your opponents' feet.
The B.J. Raji Dance
It's OK, B.J. Raji. You can still shake your groove thing.
Just don't do it while sitting on top of Caleb Hanie. That's a good way for you to get your team a penalty and will likely cause internal bleeding for poor Caleb.
Thank the heavens this celebration is still legal. If fat men can't celebrate, why even watch football?
The NFL hasn't mentioned a ban involving rhino imitations, so Henry Hynoski's famous celebration appears to be safe for the time being.
Should he start pointing his horns at New England Patriots defenders, however, this celebratory gesture might become endangered. See what I did there?
Throwing the Ball at Onlookers
The current rule goes as follows: You aren't allowed to throw the ball at opposing players.
That being said, the rule doesn't say anything about chucking the pigskin at hapless guys on the sideline. It's not a celebration that's going to earn you many friends or cool points, but it's not against the book.
Hopefully, we won't have to see my theory put to the test this year, and every intern and/or random kid on the sideline gets to go home without a black eye in 2013.
Simple, iconic and undeniable.
Some believe the "Lambeau Leap" is excessive celebration, but the day the NFL outlaws this celebration is the day America makes the switch to Arena League football and never looks back.
You don't mess with the "Leap."
The Fist Pump
The fist pump is the most unoriginal and uninspired celebration in sports, and therefore, will forever remain safe from a league ban in the NFL.
Pumping your fist feels good, but the act is woefully lacking in flair and bravado.*
*Tiger Woods' fist pumps are the lone exception to this rule.
Hugging Other Team's Cheerleader
It was awkward, but it wasn't flagged.
After catching a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, former Buffalo Bills wideout David Nelson headed to the sidelines to hug his girlfriend, Kelsi Reich—a Cowboys cheerleader.
No flags were thrown on the "celebration," so it might be legal, but this is about the only situation imaginable where approaching opposing team's cheerleaders doesn't end poorly for an NFL player.