Amid a hail of carefully choreographed “lighthearted” media conferences and press releases, the NFL has relaxed its celebration rules to bring a wee bit of fun back into the game. But as we move forward in this brave new free-for-all world, we start to see that maybe the celebrating won’t be quite as random, spontaneous and penalty-free as we’d all hoped.
We already knew that the NFL wouldn’t allow violent (i.e. weapons-based) or prurient (i.e. twerking, consummating a relationship with the turf, etc.) celebrations. Now, according to ESPN, comes word that the famed crossbar dunk will also remain illegal. Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and others who could elevate high enough to dunk the football over the 10-foot-high crossbar popularized the move, but alas, it’s still going to incur a 15-yard penalty.
The reason? Blame Graham. He dunked a football in a 2013 game against the Falcons (to be fair, he’d just scored a 44-yard touchdown) and made the mistake of hanging on too long. The result:
Jimmy Graham bent the goalpost by hanging on the bar after his dunk http://t.co/QMAfDKO1io
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 22, 2013
Yeah, a bent goal post that required 20 minutes to fix. The goal post itself still can’t be used as a prop anyway, which outlaws pole dancing and shimmying, but this move just makes it crystal clear: nobody cares about your vertical, NFL players, sorry.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.