Why Buffalo Bills Should Punish Stevie Johnson Touchdown Dance Before NFL Does

Adam OdekirkContributor IINovember 27, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Steve Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates his touchdown against the New York Jets during their game on November 27, 2011 at  MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The debate over touchdown celebrations are often very polarizing. Sometimes a person is considered "old school" when they prefer a player simply toss the ball back to the referee, while those who enjoy the scripted and sometimes acerbic jabs that a scoring team will take at their opponents are labeled as "classless."

One thing that is for certain is that the NFL is all about entertainment, and in the examples mentioned above, those who find the play itself entertaining don't need the extracurricular activity. But those who see the players as characters want this additional fodder for discussion.

Whatever side of the fence that a person falls on should be his or her own choice, but the NFL these days has taken great care to try and make some of those choices for fans. Costly penalties are now handed out for conduct that is deemed to be "unsportsmanlike," causing an insult via celebration to be dealt with in the same way as a hit intended to injure.

Whether the NFL should be in charge of defending the fragile emotions of players who were beaten on a play is a different debate, but perhaps the teams themselves should be in charge of policing behavior like that.

The decision as to whether Stevie Johnson crossed the line of decency by impersonating a man shooting himself, an act that subsequently sent him to prison, might raise above the simple debate over celebrations getting out of hand.

Still, if the Buffalo Bills don't want their team to be represented that way then they should step in before the league does and take whatever action they feel appropriate.

Chan Gailey and Bills fans probably feel like karma already dealt them a stiff enough penalty by causing Johnson to drop an almost sure touchdown pass and effectively end their playoff hopes.

That aside, the NFL will certainly be looking into Johnson's antics, but a pre-emptive strike from the Bills themselves might send a message to Johnson and force their dynamic playmaker to focus more on catching the ball than celebrating after.

Johnson himself would surely agree that even though he, and maybe some others, thought his performance was funny. But the New York Jets were the ones who got the last laugh.