One of the NFL's most popular touchdown celebrations involves players dunking the ball over the goal post, but sports fans will be forced to get their dunking fix solely from the NBA in 2014.
According to Paul Pabst of The Dan Patrick Show, the celebration made famous by future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez will no longer be permitted:
NFL Head of Officials Dean Blandino told @dpshow that dunking the ball over the goal posts will be a penalty next season.— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) March 25, 2014
The rule change comes at a convenient time since Gonzalez retired following the 2013 season, but it may have more to do with an incident involving New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham this past year, per Rowan Kavner of DallasCowboys.com:
Yeah, do wonder if he didn't bend the post if this would have happened RT @romo2witten It is Jimmy Graham's fault.— Rowan Kavner (@KavnerDC) March 25, 2014
Graham, who played basketball at the University of Miami, adopted Gonzalez's celebration and did it more emphatically than anyone else. CBS Sports' Eye on NFL provides Graham's tweet on the rule change, which Graham has since removed:
In fact, after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in November, Graham bent the goal post, which led to a delay.
Graham's teammate Kenny Stills reacted to the rule on his Twitter account:
Gonzalez also spoke about the rule change:
The NFL says no more dunking over the goalpost. This one I don't understand. Looks like I got out just in time.— Tony Gonzalez (@TonyGonzalez88) March 25, 2014
Perhaps aiming to prevent such occurrences in the future, the NFL has decided to place even more restrictions on celebratory demonstrations.
Players have been limited significantly in that regard over the years, and Kavner is one of many who feel as though the NFL lives up to the "No Fun League" mocking moniker:
Dunking on the goalpost now a penalty, because fun sucks— Rowan Kavner (@KavnerDC) March 25, 2014
Do you agree with the NFL's decision to ban goal-post dunking?
Even if the league's reason for banning goal-post dunking is practical, it comes across as yet another needless power move meant to restrict on-field creativity.
There is a fine line between being excited and showing up an opponent, but the dunk celebration didn't cross that line.
Fans pay good money to see some of the world's top athletes compete, and while that isn't being impacted, most fans also don't want their favorite players to act like robots.
Unfortunately, as more and more of these rules are passed, the league risks losing any sense of individuality.
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