No fun league no more? Roger Goodell and the NFL are set to lift restrictions on certain types of celebrations for the 2017 NFL season.
The NFL has been locked in on trying to shorten games. They also want to make the officiating more concise in recent rule changes and proposals. Now it seems that the NFL is trying to fix their tyrannical and oppressive reputation regarding celebrations.
Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports is reporting that Commissioner Roger Goodell is preparing to dial-back it’s anti celebration rules.
Merriments such as group celebrations, using the football as a prop after scoring touchdowns, going to the ground, and even making snow angels will be allowed in this particular iteration of the celebration rules. However, there will still be a strong emphasis on preventing certain types of celebrations, specifically crude and suggestive celebrations.
"Prolonged acts, miming weapons, offensive gestures, sexually suggestive stuff still expected to be banned. That includes twerking."
The league has taken a lot of heat from the fans in recent years for celebration rules. Not only do fans want to see their favorite players enjoying themselves on the field, but pointless penalties are a time sink and can negatively affect the outcome of a game. Perhaps this move will garner some goodwill from the fans.
Goodell says that this proposed change has been in the works for sometime. He has also consulted with players on the proposal.
"Emphasis on spontaneous exuberance. Result should be more fun, fewer flags."
There is a downside to this rule change though. Officials on the field will continue to enforce celebration rules at their own discretion. They’ll have to decide what is a “prolonged act” and where the fine line between celebration and taunting is drawn. This will likely lead to some initial confusion and frustration as the rule is implemented in it’s inaugural season.
Ultimately this is a step in the right direction for the NFL in making the game more fun for players and fans. It will be interesting to see what known celebrators Antonio Brown, Travis Kelce, and Marshawn Lynch will come up with in future seasons. Also expect some new faces will be encouraged to put their stamp on NFL celebrations.