I am writing to you today in reference to a call made at the end of the BYU-Washington game this afternoon. I was watching, along with numerous other fans, with great excitement as Washington QB Jake Locker capped off an 18-play drive down the field to score a touchdown with :02 left to make the game 28-27.
At the end of the play, Locker tossed the ball behind his head and celebrated with his teammates.
A flag was thrown.
Excessive celebration was called against the Huskies, and instead of a normal PAT, they were forced to kick the equivalent of a 34-yard field goal to tie the game. Ryan Perkins' kick was blocked, and Washington lost the game.
My letter is a plea with you to reconsider the excessive celebration penalty. Now, I am the type of fan who thinks that every receiver that makes a big deal of every catch, running around the end zone flexing after a touchdown, and carrying on like a knucklehead should be penalized for demeaning the other team and the sport in general.
Call me old-fashioned, but I am a fan of guys who toss the ball to the referee like they've been there before.
The other guys I'm fans of are the guys who after a score celebrate with jubilation with their teammates. Locker fell into this category.
I completely understand that he was excited about his touchdown, and he wanted to share the joy with his teammates, not hog the spotlight and make an idiot of himself.
Penalizing him in that spot was completely wrong, and took the outcome of the game out of the hands of the players and put it into the hands of the officials. This is wrong.
Referees need to use their flags with more discretion in the final seconds of a game, as their calls are magnified tenfold. As an organization, I request that you, the NCAA, review this incident and take measures to ensure that excessive celebration calls are made only in situations that warrant it.
Fans deserve a game that is decided by the players on the field, not by a referee with an itchy trigger finger. Thank you.
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