Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

NFL Could Consider Taking Away Touchdowns For Taunting

Golden Tate's wave goodbye made him either a hero or a villain, according to People Who Have Strong Opinions On Things Like This. (Personal opinion: There aren't many things in sports that matter less than one player taunting another.) But it sounds like there's a chance that the NFL could crack down by changing the rulebook so a taunting penalty would negate a score.


The rule already exists in the NCAA, where a 15-yard penalty is enforced from the spot of the infraction. But in the NFL, taunting is a dead-ball foul, and 15 yards are taken off the ensuing kickoff. Under college rules, Tate's touchdown—and any where the taunt comes before the end zone—would be waved off, and the ball placed 15 yards behind where the flag was thrown.

Dean Blandino, the league's VP of officiating, said on NFL Network today that the Competition Committee may give that rule a good hard look over the winter. As transcribed by Pro Football Talk:

"A lot of people felt that the touchdown shouldn't have counted [but] a taunting foul is always treated as a dead-ball foul, meaning whatever happened during the play counts, and the foul is enforced on the next play, which would be the kickoff. In college, this action would take back the touchdown. Tate started taunting at the 25-yard line. The college rule, that's enforced at the spot of the foul, so they'd go from a touchdown to first-and-10 at the 40, which would be a gigantic penalty. The NFL rule, it's a dead-ball foul, it's enforced on the kickoff. But I'm sure that's something that the Competition Committee will look at in the offseason."

On one hand, this would surely cut back on taunting. On the other hand, do you have any idea how awesome it must feel to do something amazing in a professional sporting event? I certainly don't. But sports celebration ombudsman Joe Thornton does, so we'll defer to him.