NFL Bans Dunking the Football Over the Goalpost

 

The NFL is banning another touchdown celebration: Dunking the ball over the goalpost.

All celebrations involving choreographed dances or using props have already been banned (no more cell phones hidden in goalposts or Sharpies in socks), but dunking the ball over the crossbar and the Lambeau Leap were grandfathered in. Now, dunking is out, but LeRoy Butler’s tradition will go on. 

The rule change can be attributed to New Orleans Saints’ Jimmy Graham. When he jammed the ball over the crossbar last season after his 44-yard catch in the first half of the Saints’ 17-13 win over the Falcons, he bent the goalpost. The game was delayed as the stadium crew had to haul out a ladder to fix it.

After the announcement, Graham tweeted, “I guess I’ll have to lead the NFL in penalties next year! #funpolice.” He included a picture of him dunking the pall with a referee Photoshopped between him and the goalpost. The tweet has since been deleted.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told ESPN.com that “the potential delay of game for having to reset the crossbar after being knocked askew by a dunker” was the main reason for the new penalty.

Delay of game would not be the case for the Lambeau Leap (a tradition at Green Bay in which players jump up into the stands and into the arms of rabid fans). Of course, that’s until someone dumps beer all over Aaron Rodgers and he has to go change his clothes—or worse, hot chocolate. We don’t want his pretty face burned.

Graham, a former basketball player at the University of Miami, will be the most affected by the rule change. He has caught more touchdown passes over the past three seasons than anyone else and has made the goalpost dunk his trademark celebration.

There was a time long ago when players just calmly handed the ball over to the referee after a touchdown. A more refined time, to be sure, but things have changed. People have changed. We live in a much more expressive age. Is that for the good or bad—or neither?

What do you think? Is banning dunking the ball over the goalpost a good idea, or have the “fun police” inserted too many rules into the game?

There are 23 comments.

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  1. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    I say dunk all you want, but take a penalty if you cause a delay of game because of your antics, perhaps recall the score and replay the down.

    • #1
  2. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    I’ll voice the unpopular opinion right off the bat: All of these celebrations are lame at best, and cause conflicts at worst.

    If the NFL was arranged like hockey, and players could settle their disputes with fisticuffs, I would have no problem with celebrations like this.  But in a league where they are not going to allow any fighting, you need anti taunting rules.  And yes, anti-celebration rules are anti-taunting rules.

    If not, you are creating a scenario where obnoxious players can provoke other players into penalties and ejections with no consequence to themselves.  The traditional deterrent to being a jerk is the risk of being punched in the face.  Due to NFL rules that don’t tolerate fighting, there must be other consequences for being a jerk.

    Hand the ball to ref and high five your teammates.  It’s really not hard.

    • #2
  3. kmtanner Inactive
    kmtanner
    @kmtanner

    I miss Joe Montana, who didnt celebrate much. Its too egoistic, sometimes players who didnt do anything celebrates more than Montana in a hole season.

    • #3
  4. jpark Member
    jpark
    @jpark

    I’m with Frank and kmtanner on celebrating, but the fun police need to learn the limits of any regulation. They may have banned a dunk, but what about a lay up, a jump shot, or a free throw? So, if I were to score a touchdown (or pigs flew, whichever came first) I’d do one of those to celebrate.

    • #4
  5. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Frank Soto: If the NFL was arranged like hockey, and players could settle their disputes with fisticuffs …

    Isn’t that what the tackling is for?

    ;-)

    • #5
  6. Marshall Inactive
    Marshall
    @Marshall

    Dunking the football isn’t exactly the Ickey Shuffle.

    • #6
  7. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Because “NFL” stands for No Fun League now.

    • #7
  8. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Douglas:
    Because “NFL” stands for No Fun League now.

     I have nothing to add to this.

    • #8
  9. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    KP is on the right track.  I’ll add two considerations: the team/stadium owner should be subject to league fines for puttng such fragile game equipment on the field, and the league should withdraw entirely its ban on touchdown celebrations.

    Eric Hines

    • #9
  10. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    you are creating a scenario where obnoxious players can provoke other players into penalties and ejections with no consequence to themselves.

    Not so much.  The “victims” of the taunt don’t have to surrender so meekly to it.  They are, after all, fully grown, rational adult human beings.  They have very little excuse for deciding to behave irrationally.

    Eric Hines

    • #10
  11. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Eric Hines: They are, after all, fully grown, rational adult human beings. They have very little excuse for deciding to behave irrationally.

     They chose “chasing down an inflated bit of pig leather” as a career.

    Rational?

    ;-)

    • #11
  12. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Eric Hines:
    KP is on the right track. I’ll add two considerations: the team/stadium owner should be subject to league fines for puttng such fragile game equipment on the field, and the league should withdraw entirely its ban on touchdown celebrations.

     
    Also, eliminate helmets/padding and revoke the ban on carrying weapons.

    • #12
  13. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Frank Soto:
    I’ll voice the unpopular opinion right off the bat: All of these celebrations are lame at best, and cause conflicts at worst.
    If the NFL was arranged like hockey, and players could settle their disputes with fisticuffs, I would have no problem with celebrations like this. But in a league where they are not going to allow any fighting, you need anti taunting rules. And yes, anti-celebration rules are anti-taunting rules.
    If not, you are creating a scenario where obnoxious players can provoke other players into penalties and ejections with no consequence to themselves. The traditional deterrent to being a jerk is the risk of being punched in the face. Due to NFL rules that don’t tolerate fighting, there must be other consequences for being a jerk.
    Hand the ball to ref and high five your teammates. It’s really not hard.

     This was the reason they started banning celebrations in the first place.  The Redskins’ “Fun Bunch” used to form a circle and do a group high five after a TD.  That led to opposing players trying to get in the middle and break it up.  That led to fights breaking out which led to the league-wide ban on excessive celebration.  
    There has also been some discussion of making the uprights longer, and there is some concern the added weight would cause the whole thing to topple over if someone pulled on the crossbar like Graham did.  That becomes an injury liability.

    • #13
  14. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Whiskey Sam: That becomes an injury liability.

    • #14
  15. user_536506 Member
    user_536506
    @ScottWilmot

    As Bum Phillips was known to say: When you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.

    • #15
  16. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Given the money they make–yup.

    Eric Hines

    • #16
  17. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Frank Soto: Due to NFL rules that don’t tolerate fighting, there must be other consequences for being a jerk.

     Why must there always be some rule or regulation prohibiting behavior? I understand that Our culture has lowered the expectations of Men, but rules and regulations ain’t the cure.

    Here’s an idea: don’t let the jerk in the endzone.

    • #17
  18. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Scott Wilmot:
    As Bum Phillips was known to say: When you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.

    You beat me to it.

    • #18
  19. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    D. C., I’m gonna miss Smitty making the ball spin on its end after a good play. :(

    • #19
  20. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Blondie:
    D. C., I’m gonna miss Smitty making the ball spin on its end after a good play. :(

     I’m going to miss him too. It will be hard watching the Panthers without him. I guess we have a couple of receivers now but I don’t know much about them. 

    • #20
  21. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    I don’t mind the celebrations.  They help me understand who has class and who doesn’t.  Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton….class.  A lot of these other guys…no class.  And when did catching a pass for a first down become the equivalent of hitting a buzzer beater?  Do we have that a$$hat Michael Irvin to thank for that?

    • #21
  22. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    CuriousKevmo:
    I don’t mind the celebrations. They help me understand who has class and who doesn’t. Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton….class. A lot of these other guys…no class. And when did catching a pass for a first down become the equivalent of hitting a buzzer beater? Do we have that a$$hat Michael Irvin to thank for that?

     I think we have to strike Smith from that list.  He’s the reason they have a penalty for removing your helmet intentionally on the field of play.

    • #22
  23. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    The King Prawn: I say dunk all you want, but take a penalty if you cause a delay of game because of your antics, perhaps recall the score and replay the down.

    I say “dunk all you want” if the fans paying $500 dollars plus to watch the show want to watch a show.

    My grade school nephew once commented to me about the game of hockey, “You know I love the skating and the scoring, but we all love a good fight.”

    • #23

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