When Brett Favre threw his fourth touchdown on Sunday in the Vikings 34-3 win, the Dallas Cowboys erupted in anger at the lack of respect. Many fans and broadcasters agreed. Really? That's what they've chosen as the line that shouldn't be crossed?
The unwritten rules of etiquette, sports-style, have been dwindling for years. As players and teams ignore conventional wisdom about what is out of line there are few acts that most agree are beyond the pale.
In the NFL, taunting and excessive touchdown celebrations are off limits now but only by league rule. Players get aggravated when their happiness at getting over on an opponent is messed with. And if it takes a few shoves or punches to get it to stop, well that's just men being men.
Baseball players routinely admire their work as they realize they have hit home runs. The slightest celebration at the expense of a pitcher used to be dealt with swiftly as a batter would routinely be leveled by a pitch at the body or under the chin.
That practice was addressed by MLB but many a player doesn't like the warning rules meant to deal with it all since their pitcher might be prevented from retaliating against the team's whose pitcher got in the first lick.
What seems to rankle players both in baseball and football to this day is the act of rubbing their nose in a loss. When a baseball player steals a base with his team up a fair amount of runs its gets the hair follicles to stand up on players' necks.
When Favre threw that pass on fourth down that had as much chance of failing as a run play in the situation, you'd think someone pulled his pants down and mooned the friends and families box of the opposing team.
What it indicates to me is sore losers are alive and well. Rather than admit they failed and are powerless to stop the onslaught players pout and blame the winners.
If NFL players were truly concerned about class and sportsmanship they'd stop the ridiculous practice of celebrating individual achievements that indicate nothing other than a personal triumph. Like a sack in the first few minutes of a scoreless game or at the end of a game that like the Vikes-Cowboys contest.
You mean to tell me that if the Cowboys had sacked Favre prior to that touchdown pass someone wouldn't have been hooting and hollering about it with a teammate or two joining in stroking his ego? Same score, same hopeless situation for the Cowboys but it wouldn't have kept some hot dog from using it to make himself feel good.
You live with the triumphs and you die with them. It's just it doesn't feel as good when the happy times are being celebrated on the other side of the field.
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