I know we were all thinking it: football is just a little too fun. But worry not, the NFL is sensitive to your concerns, and plans to squeeze what little joy was left out of touchdown celebrations.
As first noted by Pro Football Talk, reports out of multiple camps have officials warning players that they intend to more strictly enforce the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties already on the books. That includes:
sack dances; home run swing; incredible hulk; spiking the ball; spinning the ball; throwing or shoving the ball; pointing; pointing the ball; verbal taunting; military salute; standing over an opponent (prolonged and with provocation); or dancing.
Oh, I'm sorry, you actually like those things and think they make the game better? So does Carolina's Steve Smith, who for a decade has been punctuating touchdowns by spinning the football. Spinning, it seems, will come in for particular scrutiny.
Smith said he plans to keep on doing his signature ball spin, despite an emphasis by officials to crack down on taunting this year.
“We're working it out,” said Smith, adding he might have to alter his spin.
Officials have been told to penalize players who spin the ball at or in the vicinity of opponents.
(Update: An NFL spokesperson writes to let us know that the crackdown on spinning won't apply to touchdown celebrations, but only as the team is moving the ball down the field.)
It's the slow, vicious creep of conformity. Can you believe it was seven whole years ago that the NFL first banned props and group celebrations, as well as the "throat slash; machine-gun salute; sexually-suggestive gestures; prolonged gyrations; or stomping on a team logo?" Soon, players will be forced to sign a notarized document confirming that they did indeed score a touchdown and fax it back to the league office before they're allowed to return to the sideline.
Ah well. Enjoy the best TD celebration ever. You won't see its like again.