Roger Goodell's National Football League isn't going to shake it's reputation as the "No Fun League" any time soon. In the latest move by the NFL to legislate individual player expression, touchdown celebrations that include dunking the football over the crossbar will be penalized beginning with the 2014 season.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino discussed the penalty during the "Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday. According to Blandino, the dunks will be flagged by officials enforcing an existing rule relating to using the football as a prop.
"We put in a rule about five, six years ago in terms of using the ball as a prop and we grandfathered in the Lambeau Leap and things like that. But dunking will come out," Blandino told Patrick. "Using the ball as a prop or any object as a prop -- whether that's the goal post, the crossbar -- that will come out and that will be a foul next season."
CLICK HERE to listen entire interview
The banning of the dunk celebration will begin the season after legendary tight end Tony Gonzalez walked away from the field and into the television studio. A two-sport star at Cal, Gonzalez made the dunk his signature celebration during 17 seasons in Kansas City and Atlanta. The 14-time Pro Bowl selection hung up his shoulder pads after the 2013 season.
The NFL says no more dunking over the goalpost. This one I don't understand. Looks like I got out just in time.
— Tony Gonzalez (@TonyGonzalez88) March 25, 2014
Those high-flying players still in the league, notably New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, were not pleased to learn of the change.
— Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) March 25, 2014
Graham, 27, may be at least partially responsible for the change in rule enforcement. The Saints' tight end briefly delayed a game in November 2013 by bending a goalpost with a two-handed dunk celebration.
(GIF via @BuzzFeedSports)
Whether or not that incident played a role in the decision to enforce the existing rule differently in 2014, several of Graham's peers seemed displeased by the news.
No more dunking on the goalpost?! SMH. Glad I got to do one last year though. But I'll stick to what I'm good at.. pic.twitter.com/0Z99ZS8YPU
— Joseph Fauria (@BigJoeFauria) March 25, 2014
There are Taking The Fun out the Game! Please NFL let the Game Be!
— Willie Colon (@willcolon66) March 25, 2014
To Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, the ban on dunks is just the latest bid by the NFL to turn players into emotionless automatons.
So no dunking now....What does that have to do with making the game better????
— Justin Tuck (@JustinTuck) March 25, 2014
@wingoz no they want players to be robots or they will penalize..... Next is chest bumps and high fives....smh
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) March 25, 2014