So there it is. A game-changing, life-altering new decree enacted by the National Football League at the Owners' Meetings in Orlando, Florida: players cannot dunk the ball over the goalpost anymore when celebrating a touchdown. Dean Blandino, the NFL head of officiating, announced the news on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday, to the dismay of players like New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who has made a habit of dunking the ball after each score.
Graham wasn't the only one to be disappointed by the new rule. Thousands of fans chimed in on Twitter and blogs, rehashing the old "No Fun League" moniker for the NFL and using even less flattering adjectives to describe a league they deem old-fashioned and too rigid.
In an attempt to explain what led to the League Committee's decision, Blandino cited the issue of "celebrating while using the ball as a prop," which the NFL has actually banned for a few years now. The real reason however, may have been that a few times in the past two years Jimmy Graham has bent the goalpost while dunking over it in celebration, which caused a delay in the game.
Something is wrong with the NFL. They are like a bully, taking all the fun out of games we will still watch, even when they involve two putrid teams with nothing to play for, on a Thursday night. Can you blame them? If I had such power, I would probably do the same thing. So, maybe the thing that is wrong with the NFL today is actually...the fans.
Let me illustrate it with this example: people pay exorbitant amounts of money to buy NFL season tickets; all while knowing that it means they'll have to also pay for four meaningless preseason games. We're the addict that will do absolutely anything to get his/her fix. The NFL is the pimp that says to the addict: well then I want you to... Hmmm, I should probably not go into details here.
Now let me take another, maybe even more twisted detour here. Have you seen what the Saints all-time leader in receiving yards does when he catches a touchdown? I'm talking about wide receiver Marques Colston. After each score, Colston crosses himself and sends a kiss to the skies, most likely to dedicate the score to his father James, who passed away from a heart attack when Marques was 14 years old.
The reaction to players like Colston or Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is always great admiration. These are men who honor the game by being humble and never showboating, despite achieving tremendous success on the field. "Class acts" is what you'll hear most of the time when they are being mentioned by the media and fans alike. Interestingly however, when the League takes another step into diminishing said showboating or taunting in football, the same media and fans are up in arms.
The reason, in my opinion, is simple: we know the NFL owns us. They can do whatever they please with us. So we hate the fact that once again, they are changing something within the game, something we truly only like when it's done by a player on the team we root for, and we can't do a single thing about it.
Something is wrong with the abusive pimp, who thinks he can do anything he pleases, at any time, to the powerless addict. Something is even worse with the addict, who has allowed himself to be at the complete mercy of the pimp and only has the meager power of social media to vent his or her futile anger.
We need some serious NFL football detox. Maybe Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is right, when he says that the NFL's hubris will be its eventual downfall in a decade or so. We will all be able to exhale then and find another pimp to sustain ourselves. Hopefully it will be one slightly less brutal; in the meantime, let's have another fix.