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Rival Report 10/18: NFL's overboard policing of celebrations sapping joy from game

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

By now pretty much everybody has heard that the joke that the NFL stands for No Fun League, but it is taking that concept to the extreme this season. There have been so many Unsportsmanlike Penalties called this year for fun celebrations that it is mind blowing. The NFL's ridiculousness about these celebrations is becoming obscene, it is time for them to release their grip a little at the very least.

The latest penalty on Washington tight end Vernon Davis for his "jumpshot" really illustrates the absurdity of the NFL's "no fun" stance. After scoring a touchdown, Davis turned around and tossed the football over the goal post in a reenactment of a basketball jump shot. In doing so, he used the football as a prop and therefore was penalized.

It's tough to say who it is that thinks this type of behavior deserves to be punished (Roger Goodell), but it is pretty safe to say that the person is power hungry (Roger Goodell) and absurdly abusing their power (Roger Goodell). What isn't tough to say is that this type of nonsense has had a negative impact on the game.

It was fun watching Chad Johnson, Joe Horn, and Terrell Owens celebrating their touchdowns. It was great not knowing what kind of shenanigans they would do after their next touchdown. Seriously, I can understand a penalty for Joe Horn removing a marker out of his sock as a celebration prank, but that was hilarious.

Now you can't even pretend to do a jump shot? A bow and arrow celebration after a big play is a 15 yard penalty? Is celebrating at all going to be eliminated all together one day? Some people may yearn for the Barry Sanders types, players who just hand the ball to the ref and walk away like what they just did was nothing special but not me.

I like seeing fun celebrations. The players are people too and they deserve to be able to have some fun if they do something great. The NFL has enough control already, they don't need to be going out of their way to show off how much power they have when we already know the league (Roger Goodell) holds all the cards.

Maybe I will just have to start watching this Chinese Arena League to get my fun in now:

NFL’s celebration penalties aren’t about sportsmanship. They’re about control. - The Washington Post
League’s paternalistic rebukes of players’ joyous actions are truly unsportsmanlike.

NFL explains why Vernon Davis, Odell Beckham got penalized for celebrating -
Is the NFL being the No Fun League or did Davis and Beckham break the rules?

No Joy in Football? N.F.L. Celebration Penalties Rise Sharply - The New York Times
The league says it has not changed its rules on celebrations; it has only asked officials to pay more attention to enforcing the existing rules.

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