Welcome to the Wednesday War Room, where your favorite Yahoo Sports NFL writers weigh in on the most serious and critical NFL topics of the day. Read on for how you can join in. Today, we’re talking replacement quarterbacks and replacement announcers. Onward!
Question 1: Touchdown celebrations are back! What’s your favorite TD celebration in NFL history?
I’m not one of the people who poo-poos touchdown celebrations. Getting to the end zone isn’t easy – in your average game it happens 3 to 4 times per team (unless you’re a fan of the Rams) – and it should be celebrated. And for a sport that loves to remind us as often as possible that it’s the “ultimate team sport,” it’s pretty dumb that group celebrations and dances were banned for so long. I’m all for choreographed multi-player dances or the old one-player-dances-while-another-pretends-to-record-it act. It’s hard to pick a favorite, because over the years, even with the restrictions, there have been some good ones: Chad Johnson pulling on a gold jacket, Joe Horn pulling a cellphone out of the uprights padding, Ezekiel Elliott jumping into the Salvation Army kettle – they were all in good fun. The NFL earned the “No Fun League” nickname with good reason over its often over-the-top nitpicking on rules: in 2008, then-Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson was fined when his TD “dance” was him putting the football under his jersey and rubbing his belly, a loving nod to his wife, who was pregnant with their first children (twins) at the time. Let the players have a little fun.
There was a random receiver named Kelley Washington in the 2000s, who had a completely strange and underwhelming career but was the author of one of the best celebrations I’ve ever seen. I think it had been like three or four years between touchdowns for the guy, and it was early in the season, right after they first made it illegal to excessively celebrate, use the ball as a prop, all that. Well, Washington catches a touchdown pass and just loses his mind in a dance called “The Squirrel,” one he apparently trademarked a few years earlier in the preseason, which just about sums up Kelley Washington. I just started choking I was laughing so hard while he did it. The guy might never have been happier than at that moment. This was a dance-like-no-one-is-watching event. I’d talked to Washington a few times early in his career, and he once told me, “I live life the way it’s meant to be lived.” A-flippin-men, Kel.
I absolutely approve of any creative use of the football as prop, including putting, napping, diapering, dunking, three-pointing, and Lion King-ing. I also look forward to the first deliberate flaunting of the rules, the present-day equivalent to Doug Baldwin pooping one out (a move that seems to dodge the prurient/violent restrictions on new celebrations, but will probably draw a flag nonetheless). If you ask my favorite, though, I’ve got to go with the Washington Redskins’ Fun Bunch group high-five. Come on, that’s funny and an example of good teamwork for the kids. Win-win.
I know the question asks for an NFL celebration. I don’t care. The Jacksonville Sharks’ “People’s Elbow” celebration needs to be remembered and honored from now until the end of time. Greatest. Celebration. Ever.
Question 2: With the news that Los Angeles is losing (briefly) a Super Bowl and Tampa is gaining one, what is your favorite Super Bowl city?
There is one answer to this: New Orleans. If you need more than that, I pity you.
I’m going to take you to a time in the near future, when there’s a $2 billion stadium right across I-15 from Mandalay Bay. Once people experience a Las Vegas Super Bowl, there will be no turning back. Already, just about any conversation about the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas includes a “What about a Las Vegas Super Bowl, huh?” comment, with a knowing look from anyone who knows that Sin City will set a new standard for Super Bowl hosts. I was at the 2007 NBA All-Star Game in Vegas, and the electricity on the Strip was unlike anything I’ve experienced there or at any Super Bowl. Assuming the NFL doesn’t take a hypocritical moral stand about giving the Super Bowl to Las Vegas because there’s (gasp!) gambling there, it’s going to be the greatest party the Super Bowl has experienced.
New Orleans. Period. In early February, the weather is warm but not stifling, the people are incredibly friendly, and the food can’t be beat. I have never eaten better than I did the week I spent in the city for Super Bowl XLVII. Beignets at Cafe du Monde, charbroiled oysters at Apolline, pretty much everything at Jacques-Imo’s…yeah, it was all great.
Oh, come on. You guys took the Warriors and Cavaliers of Super Bowl cities. There’s nobody that’s even a distant third behind Vegas and NOLA. OK, Miami has its charms, the most common of which is that you constantly feel like you’re on the run for a crime you didn’t commit. San Francisco was a spectacular host city a couple years back, and maybe one day it’ll get the actual Super Bowl sited in its own time zone. Houston flat-out killed it this year, concentrating everything except for the game in one small area downtown and yet still managing to move hundreds of thousands of people through town. Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Detroit, Tampa, Atlanta … lovely cities all, but all lacking that extra spark. So I say we go to London and tear the roof off that joint. Who’s with me?
There you have it. Weigh in with your own thoughts below. Got ideas for future questions? Email us and you might just find your name in lights.
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.