During halftime of a recent installment of "Sunday Night Football" on NBC, Bob Costas delivered a scathing rant against excessive touchdown celebrations that was, in large part, inspired by the antics of Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson's antics after scoring a touchdown against the Jets. But it's hard to imagine that Costas -- or even the harshest foe of football fun roaming the corridors of power in the NFL or NCAA -- would agree to this draconian enforcement of anti-celebration rules that cost a high school the most important win in school history.
Trailing Blue Hills 16-14 in the final minutes with the ball on his own 44-yard-line, Boston Cathedral High School quarterback Matthew Owens' took the shotgun snap, faked the handoff and ran to his right. The senior burst through the hole and sprinted into the end zone for what looked like the game-winning touchdown, giving Boston Cathedral its first Super Bowl title in school history.
But a referee had thrown a flag just after Owens crossed the 20-yard-line because the quarterback had raised his arm and pointed his finger toward the sky.
Owens had apparently violated the new Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association sportsmanship rule, which prohibits any celebratory or taunting behavior by someone scoring a touchdown. Click HERE to look at the rule.
With the score called back, Boston Cathedral was unable to score before time expired and Blue Hills held on to win, 16-14.
"[The game] got taken away from us, and what else can you do," Boston Cathedral head coach Duane Sigsbury said. "If you're going to take away from a kid being excited because he just made the play of his life, shame on you."
Given the rule, was this the right call?
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