Sunday, June 4, 2017

It's Time For The NFL To Shake Off The "No Fun League" Stigma

Jimmy Graham dunking over the goal post, and the Superdome was rockin.

No, this is not the first post on the NFL's ridiculous anti-celebration policies, and it definitely will not be the last of its kind.  However it is my post, which makes it the most important out of all of those pieces.

The No Fun League (National Football League) is a name that is not new and was not created under Roger Goodell's tyrannical rule over the United States' most popular sport. This term was used frantically during the years of the USFL in the 80s, and then by Vince McMahon in 2001 when he created the XFL (both of these leagues and their failures are showcased on some great 30 For 30 films, check them out). Under Roger Goodell, the No Fun League has stepped up their game by taking away one of the best parts of TDs, the celebrations.

Owens Celebrating in midfield at Dallas.
You can probably name a lot of the best celebrations off of the top of your head because of how popular they were. Tony Gonzalez/Jimmy Graham dunking the ball over the goal posts, Terrell "TO" Owens running out to the midfield and standing in the star, arms outstretched on top of the holy Texas Stadium star, and of course, Deion "Primetime" Sanders doing anything because he is Primetime.

These celebrations were often the highlight of piss poor games between bad teams at times, and more importantly, represented the fun these players were having playing a game. This is where the Goodell regime messed up.

In 2013, after decades of cracking down on celebrations, Goodell officially banned a large amount of them occurring after touchdowns, effectively killing the touchdown celebration. Controversially, this was occurring at the same time the NFL seemed to be ignoring the large amount of Domestic Violence scandals infecting the league, including the infamous Ray Rice elevator incident. The skewed logic of the NFL at times towards the harmless TD celebrations is an example of a league that is wrongfully taking itself too seriously.

Celebrating success is a natural form of life, sometimes minimal and at other times over-the-top. The over-the-top type are mainly hilarious and "in your face". In terms of the NFL, it is a harmless form of entertainment that is causing no true physical or mental harm to anyone. Especially when compared to the ignored concussion and prescription drugs issues.

Touchdown celebrations are fun and is a part of what makes individual players loved by people around the world. It showcases their personalities along with their immense talents. The NFL banning these showcases of personalities is not only a spit in the face of the players, but also to the fans who would like to see their players enjoy the game. Acts of true passion should be embraced, not banished.

To say that every fan and player enjoys the celebrations is probably stretching the truth. For example, in the NHL, star defenseman for the Nashville Predators P.K. Subban, is under scrutiny from the conservative fans in the league for being too flamboyant in his celebrations.

Jose Bautista bat flip after a big home run
In the MLB, players like Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista and Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper are frowned upon by rival teams and fans for celebrating home runs with bat flip and stare downs. However, with these two leagues also comes the NBA, where celebration is promoted and disrespect is the part of the game.

NBA superstars dunk on other players and then follow up with deadly stare downs striking fear into the hearts and souls of their opponents. Personalities are promoted. The NFL needs to be more like the NBA and not the NHL and MLB.

The NFL has been known for most of its history for being a league of characters, and that is the way it should be. Players deserve to have fun playing a game that they earned the right to be a pro in, teams should be able to showcase these personalities, and most importantly fans deserve to be a part of the amazing hype that is a goal post dunk.

The NFL may have reformed some of these harsh rules on celebrations by allowing players to celebrate with the ball, with other players and go to the ground, but they still have a ways to go. The No Fun League cliche is old and tired, and it is up to the Roger Goodell to end that term and bury it forever.

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