Ranking Top 10 NFL Touchdown Celebrations of 2017

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2018

Ranking Top 10 NFL Touchdown Celebrations of 2017

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    Before the 2017 season, the NFL relaxed its celebration rules to allow group touchdown demonstrations. Players could also use the football as a prop or go to the ground in jubilation.

    The decision went against the "no fun league" connotation of the past. The pullback on whistles for creative post-touchdown presentations gave new life to the game. 

    Some teams choreographed brilliant acts while other clubs played it safe. 

    The Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles came up with some of the most imaginative ideas, and their joyous moments are part of the top 10 TD celebrations.

    Who stole the show after reaching the end zone in 2017? We'll start with honorable mentions, which include a surprise entry. When it comes to teamwork, creativity and choreography, several celebrations checked all the boxes—others presented relatable charades. 

Honorable Mentions

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    Cleveland Browns: Atomic Spike

    We're already familiar with Rob Gronkowski's touchdown spike. Cleveland Browns rookie David Njoku put his signature post-score throwdown on display. 

    Typically, Njoku completes a jumping spike, but he added a sumo touch to the celebration in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Chargers. It's good to see some variation to an otherwise generic celebration. Furthermore, it's something we've yet to see before the rule change. 

    If the first-year tight end continues to score touchdowns at a rate similar to Gronkowski, he'll certainly garner more spotlight for originality.

            

    Minnesota Vikings: Leapfrog

    When Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen secured a seven-yard touchdown catch and remained on all fours, it was evident the team had something fun planned. His teammates then joined him in a leapfrog celebration. Fortunately, Minnesota's offensive linemen have some hops and didn't fall on their lily pads.

    Similar to the game of football, this demonstration took balance and leverage. The players applied what they'd learned during practices to some post-touchdown entertainment.

    Minnesota specialized in childhood-game celebrations throughout the 2017 campaign, and fans at FedExField saw the tip of the iceberg in Week 10. The Vikings leapfrogged the Redskins for a 38-30 victory.     

                 

    New England Patriots: Gronk Pony Ride

    In Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots wideout Brandin Cooks hopped on Gronkowski's back for a pony ride. The celebration didn't reach peak-level imagination, but it's a big deal with a Bill Belichick-coached team.

    After the game, Gronk told reporters that he and Cooks were scolded by team brass (likely Belichick), per NESN's Zach Cox: "We got yelled at. We're not allowed to talk about celebrations."

    The NFL will allow some fun between the white lines, but it's still all business in New England.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bench Press

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    It's never a bad time to schedule a quick workout—even in the middle of a football game. Coming off a Week 9 bye, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell flexed his muscle with some bench-pressing action at Lucas Oil Stadium.

    Bell would've ranked higher if he lifted a teammate, but JuJu Smith-Schuster's decision to literally be the bench boosts the rating. Antonio Brown spotted the 25-year-old ball-carrier to prevent a weight-room accident. 

    Don't overlook the big, burly offensive linemen rooting for Bell as he does a set. They each can probably lift the three players involved in the act stacked on top of each other with ease. Nonetheless, the 300-pounders look excited to see someone get their pump going for the day.

9. Philadelphia Eagles: Torrey Smith's Home Run

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    In the Eagles' 34-7 Week 5 win over the Arizona Cardinals, wide receiver Torrey Smith channeled his inner Deion Sanders for a few seconds as a two-sport athlete. He hits the ninth spot for venturing outside the sport and incorporating multiple players on the act. 

    After scoring a 59-yard touchdown to put his team up 20-0 in the first quarter, Smith picked up the proverbial bat and cracked a long ball off fellow wideout Nelson Agholor. 

    The team coordination puts this choreographed display in the upper echelon. Quarterback Carson Wentz served as the home plate umpire, and Alshon Jeffery stood in as the catcher. 

    Agholor's ERA spiked after this home run, but so did the Eagles' chance of winning the game.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Freeze Tag

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    After his one-yard touchdown put the Vikings up 16-0 in the second quarter of their NFC divisional matchup with the New Orleans Saints, running back Latavius Murray became "it" in freeze tag.

    The players took everyone back to their childhood, and there's some foreshadowing in this presentation, which pushes the ranking to the eighth spot.

    Fullback C.J. Ham and right tackle Mike Remmers participated in the celebration, but quarterback Case Keenum took it to another level when he remained frozen longer than anyone.

    It's fitting because Keenum played with ice water in his veins, delivering a game-winning 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs in what has been called the Minneapolis Miracle.

    The 29-year-old quarterback essentially foreshadowed his team's fortune while subtly portraying his unflappable nerves.

7. Kansas City Chiefs: Potato-Sack Race

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    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith rolled to his right and delivered a strike to tight end Travis Kelce to take a 16-14 lead over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9. Afterward, the players put a clever spin on a race to the finish, which pushes this presentation over the basic childhood game performances at No. 7.

    Then Kelce gained an advantage over wideouts Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson in a potato-sack race. Tight end Demetrius Harris refereed the action.

    Let's face it: That's the only way Kelce would beat Hill in a race. So it's obvious who came up with the idea.

    This went down as the last celebration for the Chiefs in this contest. Like Hill in the celebration, Kansas City stumbled in a 28-17 loss.

6. Tennessee Titans: Layup Drill

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    The NFL eased its celebration rules, but players can't dunk on the goalpost. So the Tennessee Titans set up a layup line at Nissan Stadium. Move over, Memphis Grizzlies: The in-state NFL team has something to offer basketball fans.

    The drill gets to No. 6 due to the premeditated plan to skirt the goalpost rule. There's also a distinct degree of difficulty and creativity on display. Titans defensive players completed two layups, and cornerback LeShaun Sims initially attempted an alley-oop to fellow defensive back Adoree' Jackson.

    Many teams went with celebrations that mimicked other sports, but the Titans' demonstration displays smooth coordination between teammates in what looks like a legitimate pregame NBA layup line. 

5. Philadelphia Eagles: Bowling a Strike

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    The Eagles provided another post-touchdown gem using teamwork. This time, all the offensive players participated in the act when Jeffery bowled a strike after scoring on an eight-yard reception against the Chicago Bears in Week 12. The collective cooperation puts Philadelphia's best work at No. 5.

    Jeffery's early walk-off illustrated the confidence in his bowling skills. Fortunately, all the players involved knew how to fall because poor execution could've caused unnecessary injury.

    Eagles players didn't just stick to football in 2017; they delved into other sports to show their natural talents. With this 31-3 win, Philadelphia had reached 10 wins and continued to push toward a division title and the NFC's best record.

4. Baltimore Ravens: Tug of War

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    Baltimore Ravens rookie ball-carrier Alex Collins is light on his feet, but he won't shy away from a tough run between the tackles or a tug of war with massive offensive linemen.

    The big guys up front aren't the most coordinated in touchdown celebrations, but they swayed back and forth in unison to provide realism to this strength competition. The added effort pushes the Ravens to No. 4 on the list.

    Collins extended the Ravens lead to 26-13 over the Detroit Lions in Week 13 and put his strength on display. Standing alone on one side, he pulled four offensive linemen across the center with his raw power.

    It's clear the Arkansas product ate his Wheaties that day. He scored two rushing touchdowns and overpowered his oversized teammates.

    The Ravens' brand exudes toughness and physicality, and Collins certainly fits the mold. Baltimore outmuscled Detroit in this contest en route to a 44-20 home victory.

3. Detroit Lions: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots

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    Some childhood toys just don't go away. The Lions took it way back with Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. There's a combination of nostalgia and quality acting between pretending combatants, which makes this a must-watch in the No. 3 slot. 

    Some fans may remember the 1975 commercial, but for those who came into this world later, two players go head-to-head by controlling their fighter. 

    After the first score against the Green Bay Packers in Week 9, wide receiver Marvin Jones and tight end Eric Ebron went to fisticuffs.

    Wideout Golden Tate and running back Ameer Abdullah look like two happy kids playing with a new present on Christmas Day. Ebron deserves major credit for his robotic fall after losing the match.

2. Kansas City Chiefs: NASCAR Pit Stop

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    In the most fitting celebration, the Chiefs pulled Hill in for a tuneup after he torched Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward for 64 yards in the second quarter of a Week 15 contest. The brilliant idea with the appropriate player focus comes in slightly below the top spot at No. 2.

    Though he's nicknamed Cheetah, he took on a different form still suitable to his lightning quickness: a race car.

    Hill's agility causes all sorts of matchup issues for opponents, but he must keep his engine running in top gear for 60 minutes. The Chiefs kept him fresh with a quick pit stop before he took off again.

    Kansas City jumped out to a quick start in this contest and lapped Los Angeles in a critical matchup for the division lead. The Chiefs' pit crew deserves a shoutout for their contributions to a 30-13 victory. 

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Hide-and-Seek

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    Regardless of age, we've all played hide-and-seek in some form. The Steelers hit home on this celebration at Heinz Field in Week 7. Even though you don't see five or six players involved, Smith-Schuster and Bell did something that a three-year-old can recognize, not just football or sports fans. 

    Unlike the NASCAR, MLB or NBA celebrations that may resonate with fans of those respective sports, hide-and-seek is a game so relatable that you often see strangers use the activity to engage infants. Furthermore, there's a clever use of double camouflage, whether intentionally or not, adding difficulty to the act. 

    Smith-Schuster secured a 31-yard touchdown grab to put his team up 13-7 in the second quarter, then closed his eyes while Bell scampered off to hide. Brown stood in to make sure both played fair. 

    The rookie wideout took off looking for Bell and eventually found him behind the goalpost. Also note, there's a security guard also dressed in black and yellow to throw off the seeker. The running back tried to camouflage to no avail. 

    The Cincinnati Bengals never quite found A.J. Green in the passing game. The Steelers blanketed the perennial Pro Bowl receiver, limiting him to three catches for 41 yards. Pittsburgh's playmakers thoroughly enjoyed the 29-14 victory while putting in work. 

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