Dance Dance Evolution: Watch How the NFL Touchdown Celebration Has EvolvedDecember 21, 2011
Dance Dance Evolution: Watch How the NFL Touchdown Celebration Has Evolved
The art of the NFL touchdown dance has evolved significantly over the last four decades.
From the "Ickey Shuffle" to Steve Johnson, the torch remains lit for those who love to draw attention.
For the world's best professional football stars, the touchdown celebration has gone from spontaneous exuberance to scripted skits in the end zone.
For better or for worse, touchdown celebrations are here to stay.
Here is a video-profile taking us through the generations of the artful end-zone extravaganza that is the NFL touchdown dance.
First Touchdown Celebration
According to the New York Times, the very first touchdown dance in NFL history is believed to be performed by Elmo Wright, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs.
At 0:15, you will see Elmo Wright's famed touchdown celebration that started it all.
The first dance allegedly occurred against the Houston Oilers in November of 1973.
As you can see in the video, Wright was a staunch supporter of the spike, which still happens today.
The 1970s were characterized in the NFL dancing realm by the antics of Billy "White Shoes" Johnson.
According to the ESPN documentary in the video, Johnson got the snowball rolling in terms of dances in the end zone.
Fans enjoyed seeing "White Shoes" break big plays and finish it off with a "chicken dance."
Also, that nickname is fantastic.
The infamous "Ickey Shuffle," as performed by Elbert Woods of the Cincinnati Bengals, occurred during the 1980s.
Woods would punch-in short touchdown runs and follow them up with a hilarious dance that is made priceless by the size of Woods.
The "Ickey Shuffle" is commonly copied in today's celebrations.
The 1990s decade brought us two distinct celebrations that could not be farther apart in execution and motivation.
One of which is still done today.
Fans of both the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers loved to see their teams perform the "Dirty Bird" and "Lambeau Leap," respectively.
The leap began against the Los Angeles Raiders when LeRoy Butler scored a defensive touchdown and jumped into the stands. The tradition has taken off since, with the Packers still doing so with every Aaron Rodgers touchdown toss.
The "Dirty Bird," as orchestrated by Jamaal Anderson, would be illegal today because it was a multi-player presentation.
Beginning in the early 2000s, NFL players began to script their touchdown dances with planned arrangements and, even worse, props.
First, Terrell Owens brought a Sharpie to a game.
And no one can forget the above performance by former Saints receiver Joe Horn. Horn scored in a prime-time game in 2003, and followed it up by pulling his cell phone out of the upright and making a call.
Packers fans may also remember this infamous move pulled off by Randy Moss during the 2004 NFL playoffs. No props or words minced here.
In the prime of the NFL celebration craze, one name stands above all as the instigator of the hilarious during the latter part of the 2000s.
No. 85 made fans anticipate or hate his touchdowns more than any other player, depending on whether you enjoyed his moves on the field.
His antics have tempered significantly since joining the New England Patriots in 2011, but those who loved to see him embarrass the other team can look back and enjoy.
As the calendar turned toward a new decade, Chad Ochocinco gave way to another wide receiver diva in the field of touchdown celebrations.
Steve Johnson of the Buffalo Bills has showcased numerous tactics that descended from Ochocinco, like the above "why so serious" shirt.
Like Ochocinco, Johnson's wallet is a tad lighter as a result.
As offenses are scoring more and more points because of defensive rule-changes in professional football, expect more of the same from the free-spirited scorers the NFL has to offer.