The NFL is a growing, ever-changing entity that attracts a variety of fans to attend or view televised football games. Besides the players actually being at work, along with the coaches, officials, broadcasters, and various stadium employees, the fans are expecting to be entertained. The changes that are experienced as the years pass are sometimes well received by the fans, but many times are bemoaned as something to detract from the fun that is supposed to be NFL action. The former has led me down a path of discovery, seeking to gauge the fans opinion of one very recent rule change - no dunking over the goalpost after a TD. Before you click away because you have read so many recent stories about Jimmy Graham's role in the discussion, this isn't about that! I would like to get other fans opinions of end zone celebrations - do you enjoy the show of emotion or do think that you should just act like you've been there?
I've experienced football at various levels (grade school, HS, and semi-pro) and positions (player, assistant coach, and head coach), so I understand the emotion of actually scoring a TD and having a teammate or player score as well. For anyone who loves football as much as I do, putting up six points is a high! For clarity, I will admit, I enjoy watching a player cross the goal line and celebrate his achievement.
It must have started in my youth, watching wrestling on television. The process was somewhat reversed, but an unnecessary celebration usually preceded a finishing move - Hulk Hogan showing the pythons, Hacksaw Jim Dugan raising a thumb and yelling "Hooooo!", or later The Rock raising his arms and removing an armband. There are countless others, but the point remains, the celebration didn't make the accomplishment or finishing move better, but it was very entertaining.
Back to football! The argument against end zone celebrations is that they cause a delay to the natural flow of the game or are simply unsportsmanlike. These are the few moments that I agree that some celebration is excessive, but many rule changes seem to take the fun out of one of the most exciting moments in the game. Now I'm not a Saints conspiracy theorist, so I won't say that the rules are meant to hate the Black and Gold, but I do wonder why the Lambeau leap does not draw a flag yet! Now I am fully aware that the celebrations that don't involve the football are more of an interpretation thing, but a delay is a delay is a delay...you get the picture.
What I'm getting at is that I want to see the players pour out emotion when they score! I like Ocho Cinco's antics, Cruz's salsa, Dante Hall's and now Dez Bryant's "X", and my all time favorite Deion's high step/ Prime Time Strut! Having been on a field and scored TDs, I have a small inkling of what it must be like to do so in front of hundreds of thousands or even millions of fans. No matter how often it has happened, it still feels so exhilarating to score that a celebration has to be in order. To relate to the non-athletes among us, it's like getting a raise at work or just simply showing you are the best at something - you want to celebrate success, no matter how many times you succeed. Unlike birthdays, which I hear you stop caring about at some point, scoring in a game has a small window of occurrence. Which is more of a reason to live it up!
There are situations where I am also fine with some delay or celebration that draws a penalty. Case in point, the University of Georgia had a horrible performance one Saturday and the coach, Mark Richt , felt that his team lacked emotion. The next game, he orchestrated the most unnecessary end zone celebration that included his entire team on the first TD of game - and it was awesome! But the point was made, show emotion and be in the game. I don't like UGA in anyway, but as a football fan, I appreciated the moment for what it was, pure emotion. After very flat performances by my own team, I have orchestrated some "unnecessary-ness" of my own to hype my team up. A full sprint to the end zone and flying chest bump usually gets the job done.
My opinion is that celebrations, big or small, add a fun element to the game and scoring a TD should not just be business as usual. Drew Brees gets in on it and boy am I gonna miss Lance Moore "hittin' that Nae-Nae dance" or "walking like Bernie"! I turn to my fellow Who Dats and football fans and ask, what do you prefer? Do you enjoy showmanship? Or do you feel it's best to just hand the ball to the ref? Sound off with your opinion of the touchdown celebration!