Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden expressed his displeasure with taunting calls after Monday's 28-14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
"I don't understand the taunting. I hate taunting. I think it's ridiculous," Gruden told reporters after the game.
Raiders tight end Darren Waller caught a 21-yard pass for a third-down conversion in the second quarter, but the gain was mostly wiped out after he spiked the ball out of bounds. Las Vegas was penalized 15 yards for taunting and later punted.
"I think what happens after an interception or a touchdown, we allow these celebrations, I consider that taunting," Gruden said. "I don't understand what happened over there on the Chargers' sideline. But the official made the call, we have to deal with it. We couldn't get any momentum going. That didn't help us."
While taunting isn't a new rule, the league announced it as a point of emphasis this season and will strictly enforce it.
Per NFLPenalties.com, officials called 10 taunting penalties in 2020 but have whistled 13 through four weeks of the 2021 season. It has led to significant criticism among fans and players, and coaches are also speaking out when it affects their teams.
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll complained about it in Week 2, saying the NFL "opened up a bit of a can of worms" with the new strategy.
The Waller penalty appeared egregious since he wasn't doing anything toward an opposing player, which has often prompted the flag this season. The spike was seemingly just excitement after the Raiders secured a first down for the first time in the game on their fifth possession.
The calls have created confusion, but it's clear the players will have to adjust.