Aug 9, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (24) jumps up in the stands to celebrate after returning an interception for a touchdown during the second half against the Chicago Bears. The Panthers defeated the Bears 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

No Fun League: Why the NFL is cracking down on touchdown celebrations

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This year NFL players are being warned by the league that some touchdown celebrations will be considered as taunting and could be subject to a 15-yard penalty and possible fines.  Seriously?!  Notices to NFL camps went out last week to warn players that actions such as sack dances, home run swings, verbal taunting, military salutes, standing over an opponent for a prolonged period of time, or dancing could be considered taunting and subject to a penalty.  Also included in the possible penalties are spiking, throwing, shoving, pointing, or spinning the ball after a play or score.  In addition to the stiffer enforcement of the rules regarding celebrations, the league has now banned players’ unique face masks.

Apparently it’s unacceptable to have fun in the NFL now.  This not only seems ridiculous but also is hypocritical and contradictory to what the NFL is going for when they’re increasing the discipline against defensive hits.  When the NFL is gearing towards making it a more offense-driven league, why take all the fun away from scoring?

Shortly after the outrage began at the idea of things like a player doing a military salute could be deemed as unacceptable, Brian McCarthy PR for the NFL, came out to clarify that the discipline for such acts would only be given to players who direct the celebration specifically at the opponent.  Ok, that makes perfect sense.  So if you’re standing towards the stands or your own bench, you can do the military salute.  If you’re standing in front of the opponent you just scored against, you’ll be flagged.  Aren’t the celebrations always kind of directed at the opponent?  I mean, I’m sure you want to rile the crowd up a bit after a touchdown but the immediate thing you want to do after you score is an, “In your face!” to you opponent.  What’s wrong with that?

It really is going to come down to the refs on this one, just like all of the rule changes such as the running back hitting with the crown of the helmet.  If the ref wants to flag a celebration like Steelers DE Brett Keisel was flagged last season for his sack dance, he’s going to flag it.  And the league will stand behind the ref.  Now, the Green Bay Packers are all still able to jump into the stands for their trademark “Lambeau Leap” with no consequence at all but if Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith spins the ball following a first down or touchdown, he’d be subject to a 15-yard penalty.

Included in the restriction of anything that could be fun or entertaining about the NFL this year in which the league wants to prohibit, the NFL has now banned “non-standard” face masks.  League spokesman Brian McCarthy explained that players like Arizona’s Darnell Docket won’t be able to wear his non-standard face mask without a medical reason.  Baltimore Ravens DE and New York Giants DE Justin Tuck both applied to the league for approval due to medical reasons and are allowed to continue wearing their Bane-like face masks.  Washington Redskins LB Brian Orakpo isn’t happy with the league’s decision.

“I don’t know.  It’s kind of tough.  Obviously it’s different.  And it does have a sort of look appeal to it.  But it’s also for protection as well.  We’re supposed to be all about protection and we get denied for something that benefits us.  It’s something that’s kind of disheartening.”-Brian Orakpo

Everyone get that?  No celebrations after a good play or a touchdown and no fancy face masks.  So the NFL wants the players to score a lot and not hit each other hard but also not personalize their uniforms and gear in an attempt to protect themselves.  Makes perfect sense.  Almost turns you off of watching, doesn’t it?  Naturally there’s only so much outrage you can have before you just shrug your shoulders and go back to being consumed with everything NFL because you’re a junkie, just like me.

Follow me on Twitter @Kimmy_KimKimM

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Tags: Brian Orakpo Carolina Panthers Darnell Dockett Justin Tuck NFL Steve Smith Washington Redskins

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