As the NFL rulebook continues to grow, more restrictions often translates to less fun for the players and the fans that adore them.
Once a weekly spectacle bordering on an art form, today’s end zone dances are by definition tame after a 2006 modification made it illegal to use props (including the ball) or to leave one’s feet during the process.
They were the most consistently exciting play in all of football until this past offseason, when the league decided to move kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35, prompting a 32 percent spike in touchbacks on opening weekend alone.
The NFL always has the players’ interest at heart when making these decisions, but even they can’t deny how watered down their product now seems compared to the good old days when you could obliterate a defenseless kickoff returner, return the ball for a touchdown, and smoothly transition right into some elaborate celebration routine you’d choreographed well in advance.
Thankfully, however, there are still scores of NFL superstars whose vibrant personalities cannot be diminished no matter how many constraints the league enforces, and for some of them, their over-the-top behavior is so animated it sometimes seem like they really are, well, animated.
Accordingly, today we’ll compare 16 of those very personalities to the cartoon characters they most closely resemble, not to ridicule their antics or belittle their abilities, but merely to prove to the skeptical NFL fan out there that the No Fun League they resent so much is actually still anything but.
Cheer up, sourpuss!