No-Fun Football League

RAMTIN JAMSHIDI
El Vaquero Sports Editor

Imagine Batman cruising the streets of Gotham City in a minivan, the Academy Awards without the boring speeches, morning cereal without milk, Saturday morning without cartoons. All are scenarios that would cause chaos and send our civilization tumbling…well maybe not, but losing them would still take the jiggle out of the jell-o of life.

Here is an even worse scenario: pro football touchdowns without the end-zone celebrations! Stop the eye rubbing, because it has happened.

Owners of the 32 National Football League teams voted 31-1 to penalize, with a 15-yard penalty, group and choreographed celebrations after a touchdown.

The infractions are considered “unsportsmanlike” conduct. The yardage will be marked off by the spot at the end of the previous play or, after a score, on the ensuing kickoff, giving the opposing team a better field position — all because of a celebration. Celebrating the accomplishment of a touchdown with teammates is now considered in bad form. Give me a break! If the same rules applied to life, go ahead and tell a child they cannot have a birthday party because all the other children will feel left out when the time comes to blow out the candles.

The owners, who of course do not play football and do not know how much emotion goes into scoring a touchdown, suctioned the fun out of celebrating one of the most exciting feats in sports. They also set the precedent that getting together in the end-zone and doing a little dance is the same as other 15-yard penalties. This means they are now comparing victory with penalties like unnecessary roughness, roughing the passer, roughing the kicker and pass interference, some of which include slamming a player after the play is completed.

Celebrating a 95-yard punt return with a choreographed dance is a 15-yard penalty? Yet, delivering a helmet flying hit from the back only gives up 10-yards. Celebrating after outplaying the defense will hurt the feelings of the 350-pound mammoth and his legion of blue-collar fans. These are grown men that play a contact game and exert so much energy to do their jobs. Having them bottle their emotions after a great play is ludicrous. The players celebrate for themselves, not to put down anyone else. It creates team unity and with a sport where not everyone has the ability to put points on the board, everyone goes into celebrating together.

The league just wants players to score and walk off, like mindless drones, but celebrations are what make the NFL so exciting. These players have the right to celebrate the same way someone that gets a promotion does with his colleagues. It is America’s game, proven with its high ratings and $85 million in advertisements for last year’s Super Bowl (that’s just one game!).

People tune in to see Terrell Owens’ shenanigans and Joe Horn pull out a cell phone in the end zone; it is entertaining and it does not hurt anyone. If the fans hated it, they would not tune in anymore. Unlike major league baseball and pro basketball, ratings are at an all time high, thanks to the player’s personalities.

Hitting a player after a play is completed is hurting someone, yet the same penalty yards are assessed with that and choreographed celebrations. The fans want to see the shuffles, dives, dances, and even choreographed dances like the team mock photo shoot and circle dances. They have loved it thus far, so what is the owners intention with taking these out of the game? It takes nothing away from the game of football and just adds fuel to the intensity of the teams to not be outplayed.

These are professional athletes and the last thing they need is to have restraints on what they do on the field or be told not to be themselves. The game is better with emotion and excitement. Sports are supposed to be fun and celebrations are an extension of that.

Still not feeling the travesty of the fun crime? Imagine basketball without the dunks, because the shorter players would feel inadequate; volleyball without spikes, because they are too violent; no home runs in baseball, because the outfielder doesn’t have a chance to catch it. No more dog piles or champagne showers after a championship. Also, no more honoring MVP’s because unless everyone gets an award it is unfair. Sports is the one place our society allows men to cry and be overjoyed and bond with their fellow man. The owners just made the NFL a little less creative and a lot less fun.