NFL Looks to Moderate Touchdown Celebration Penalty Rule

Devin McCourty, C.J. Fiedorowicz
The Associated Press

The penalty for excessive celebration after plays is one of the National Football League’s most hated rules, but now reports say the league will finally considering revising these rules.

The NFL’s competition committee is reportedly preparing to consider revising the stiff penalties after meeting with members of the NFL Players Association and others, according to USA Today.

The league has recently started enforcing the rule more often. Last season 30 infractions were cited against players whereas only 34 instances were cited over the previous three seasons combined, sports reporter Tom Pelissero said.

With the wild uptick in penalties, there seems to be a sense among players that the league has gotten out of hand on the rule.

The committee reportedly watched 40 examples of players celebrating after a play and while it seemed to insiders at the meeting that some recognition was at hand, it was still clear that prolonged celebrations were still a sticking point for league officials.

Along with consternation from players, there was also some sentiment from referees that they are confused on just when the league wants them to make calls on such rules.

Scott Green, the former NFL referee who is now executive director of the NFL Referees Association, insisted that it’s “getting kind of hard sometimes to determine” just what the league wants to be called and when.

Actions currently prohibited include throat slashing motions, the machine-gun salute, sexually suggestive gestures, prolonged gyrations and stomping on a team’s logo.

Still, the league is battling against losing fans and the perception by many that the NFL is the “no fun league” is something that may need mitigating. However, NFL officials have not confirmed that the celebration penalty rules will be addressed.

Clearly, though, NFL officials do understand how much players hate the anti-celebration rules. After all, the rules even became the butt of jokes for a promo ad for this year’s NFL Honors broadcast with comedian Keegan-Michael Key joking about adding a “pump” to his speech.