NFL touchdown celebrations are sad and empty now

What happened to all the creativity from the players?

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The Seahawks delighted fans with their New Edition TD celebration in 2019.
The Seahawks delighted fans with their New Edition TD celebration in 2019.
Screenshot: Seahawks YouTube

The NFL used to be a league full of expression and originality, and much of that was on display in the endzone during touchdown celebrations. We used to look forward to certain players scoring in anticipation of their signature dance or seeing what new move they’d come up with that week. All the originality seems to have been sucked out of the league and boiled down to a couple of celebrations we see weekly in damn near every game.

Minnesota Vikings All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson introduced “the Griddy” to the league. This season at least one player from all 32 teams has probably “entertained” us with their own rendition of the dance. Before the Vikings’ wild card loss to the Giants Sunday, Fox ran a segment on all the horribly awkward reenactments we’ve been subjected to during the 2022 campaign. Steelers Hall of Famer and FOX analyst Terry Bradshaw even tried to bust the Griddy and looked like he was rowing a boat.

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Another celebration that’s become played out is draping a “chain” around the neck of the quarterback or head coach following a victory. Whether it’s the iced-out version or the one used to lock up a bike, it’s all overdone. Mike McCarthy put one on after the Cowboys slaughtered Tom Brady for the first time on Monday. We’ve seen multiple teams implement the same celebration this year in the locker room.

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There isn’t much creativity anymore, especially when it comes to dances and celebrations. One guy comes up with something cool then the rest of the league adopts it and does a crappy imitation. It’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Justin Jefferson probably goes home and vomits after watching half the league “pay homage” to his dance each week in the worst way possible.

No stealing

At one time, you didn’t see players stealing signature dances while the originator was still active. Deion Sanders was known for his “prime time” dance anytime he entered the endzone. No one else did his dance in the 1990s. Former Cincinnati Bengals running back Icky Woods came up with the “Icky Shuffle,” and while short-lived, it captivated fans all over the country. Jamal Anderson had the “Dirty Bird” with the Falcons in the late 90s. Terrell Owens and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson came up with new celebrations for every game for a while in the 00s.

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No, this isn’t a rant about why the game was so much better back in the day. We’re speaking strictly in terms of celebrations and dances. It’s similar to Hollywood, having run out of new ideas. It can feel like everything is a remake of something hot from 20-30 years ago. Or any new movie that hits, we get 17 more knockoffs the following year. That’s NFL celebrations in a nutshell. Whenever we get something new, and it pops, expect to see it for the next six months on repeat.

Everybody join the party

Defenses in the NFL have even adopted this, as we frequently see a turnover, then all the defensive players run to the endzone together and celebrate in unison. One that was pretty cool was the players being knocked over like bowling pins. But that one also got hijacked one too many times. Come on, National Football League, you can do better than this.

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Quit butchering the Griddy and come up with something new. The NFL has been dubbed the No Fun League, and with good reason. Usually, it’s because of some mandate handed down by Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office. This time it’s because the current generation of players can’t come up with unique ways to express themselves individually.