NFL Enforces New Rules Against Excessive Celebrations

      I am not a sports-loving kind of guy. My personal favorite is America’s beloved game of baseball, but recently the NFL has caught my attention. I know how football is played, and from the Super Bowls I have watched, I have a general feeling of what is a fair move and what deserves a penalty. Given my limited experience, though, I do not believe pretending to sleep in the end zone should be penalized, yet Tajae Sharpe of the Tennessee Titans was flagged for this peculiar touchdown celebration.

     On Nov. 13, Sharpe took a 33-yard pass and scored in the end zone. According to Sports Illustrated, “the touchdown was the first of Sharpe’s career, and he celebrated by pretending to sleep in the end zone. It wasn’t an elaborate celebration, but NFL rules clearly prohibit going to the ground while celebrating.” Because of this rule, Sharpe was penalized.

     Sharpe is not the only NFL player to have been penalized for a touchdown celebration this year. Owa Odighizuwa of the New York Giants was penalized for pantomiming taking a photo of one of his fellow players. He was even charged $12,000 for his penalty.

     In an interview with N.J. Advance Media, Odighizuwa said, “When I first looked at it, I was thinking, ‘Oh, is that $1,200?’ But no, it’s not. It’s $12,000. I was like, ‘Sheesh, man, that’s crazy.’”

     The NFL is enforcing its rule on touchdown celebrations way too harshly this year. However, it seems to be such an arbitrary rule. Why should touchdown celebrations be kept under strict control? They are called celebrations for a reason. The strangest part is that this is not the only case of touchdown celebrations receiving penalties. Jonathan Jones of Sports Illustrated writes, “Last year the league penalized players nine times for ‘prolonged or excessive celebrations or demonstrations.’ This year, there have already been five flags thrown for that penalty.” It will only be a matter of time before NFL players are prohibited from dancing on the field.

     Sources:, Sports Illustrated

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