The NFL's stodgy rules committee has spoken and there shall be no dunking of the football through the field goal post. The 'No Fun League' strikes again.
The NFL's rules committee told Paul Pabst of the Dan Patrick Show that the league would penalize dunking over a goal post beginning next year. The field goal dunk has been a staple of post-touchdown celebrations in recent years, most notably by tight ends Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham, both former basketball players. Mostly because its one of the few things that players could get away with and not draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Still, as The Wall Street Journal found in December, players dunked just 34 times all season, good for three percent of all celebrations. The most common celebration was celebrating happily and peacefully with teammates.
The NFL's rule change is likely related not to quantity, but to Graham's dunk in November against the Falcons (GIF'd above), which bent the field goal post and caused a delay in the game. A stronger dunk or a less secure post could have created bigger problems for players and/or fans in the front row. And if there's one thing the NFL does not want, it's potential liabilities.
That ban is another in a long line of the NFL dropping the hammer on post-touchdown fun. Using the ball as a prop — think of the players faux-shooting his teammates — has been illegal for a while, as has adding any outside props to the celebration. Terrell Owens pulling a Sharpie out of his sock to sign a ball is definitely not allowed anymore.
Still, football is a game, and fans just want to have fun. Not surprisingly, the response from fans on this ban has largely been negative. Why take away some harmless celebratory fun like a post-touchdown dunk? Aren't there more pressing issues — preventing concussions, for one — that the NFL should focus on?
Roger Goodell cares more about goalpost health than player health— Bobby Big Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) March 25, 2014
Hard not to sympathize with the NFL when it comes to banning certain TD celebrations. This is Pop War/Imaginary Penis Court not some game.— David Roth (@david_j_roth) March 25, 2014
I'm convinced the NFL passes celebration rules just to distract everyone from any of their actual problems.— sir broosk (@celebrityhottub) March 25, 2014
But the biggest loss with the end of the field goal dunk won't be in the fun fans and players get from a slam. The worst part is that we won't be able to enjoy those attempted and failed dunks from players without hops.