If there’s one thing we know about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, it’s that he absolutely hates seeing players celebrate touchdowns. Were it up to the commish, there’s little doubt that TD’s would be celebrated with nothing more than a firm and proper handshake. On the sidelines, of course.
Goodell’s vision of a stoic and joyless workforce took another step toward fruition today, as the aptly-named Dean Blandino, NFL head of officiating, told the Dan Patrick Show that dunking the ball over the goal posts will result in a penalty next season.
“Just in. The NFL will not allow dunking the ball over the goal post next season. It will be a penalty. Cannot use the ball as a prop,” Paul Pabst of the Dan Patrick Show tweeted this morning.
As Pro Football Talk points out, the penalty is not a new rule but rather an extension of a previous rule the prohibits players from using the ball as a prop. “Excessive celebration” -- yes, that’s what it's called -- results in a 15-yard penalty enforced on the ensuing kick off.
The goal post dunk has become an indelible part of touchdown celebrations, particularly among tight ends. The move was popularized by former Chiefs and Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez, who retired after the 2013 season. It has also become the signature TD celebration of Jimmy Graham, tight end for the New Orleans Saints, and is frequently employed by TE Antonio Gates. All three players have a history in college basketball.
Even though the rule change may seem absurd, there are reasons for it beyond Goodell’s abhorrence of “fun.” One of Graham’s celebratory dunks against the Falcons bent the goal posts, resulting in a lengthy delay, as the field crew straightened the uprights.
Thanks for ruining it for everyone else, Jimmy.