Reports have been coming out about NFL referees wanting to do away with excessive celebration penalties. As the NFL micro-manages the game more each year, this would certainly be a welcome change. The referees have explained, understandably so, that being forced to decide on how to penalize an action that has nothing to do with actual plays while the clock runs is rather absurd. Naturally, it appears these wishes will not come true, because the NFL is the NFL (No Fun League).
Scott Green, the head of the NFL Referees Association, gave an excellent explanation on eliminating celebration penalties:
“Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone. We don’t really enjoy that. If we could get to a point where it would simply be fines by the league, that would be great. The issue we’ll still have is that guys can get pretty creative out there. The question of whether it’s a foul or not a foul, hopefully we’ll get closer to more of a black-and-white situation.”
The league is supposedly going to “loosen” the reins on what constitutes excessive celebration, which hopefully eliminates some silly penalties. But, the league also wants to enforce more penalties on the spot in lieu of fines. Heaven forbid that only the players may dictate the game. Teams that get scored on don’t deserve a 15 yard bump in field position because their opponents get excited after their failure to stop a score.
If any type of penalty is warranted because of celebration, then it should only be for causing a delay in the game or something along the lines of a classic Key and Peele bit. Roger Goodell insists on penalties at the time of infraction because players are role models. They’re not. Chuck Barkley explained this back in 1993.
Everyone but the NFL thinks eliminating penalties and replacing them with fines is the way to go. Heck, the league could even apply some arbitrary method of how much they fine players if they want. That way, they can still take something that should be straightforward and simple and screw it up and make everyone mad like they always do anyway. Everybody wins.
________________John Piotrowski is a UW-Eau Claire alum, spending most of his life in western WI. He makes the trek east to Lambeau whenever possible. Follow him on twitter at @piosGBP.