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Calvin Johnson: “I’m still going to dunk, I just won’t touch the rim”

Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions Getty Images

When the NFL said this offseason that it would start penalizing players who dunk the ball over the crossbar, it was referred to as the “Jimmy Graham rule” after the Saints tight end who caused a game to be delayed by knocking a goal post off-balance in the NFL’s version of shattering the glass.

But Graham isn’t the only NFL player who celebrates touchdowns by dunking. And Lions receiver Calvin Johnson believes he can get away with dunking as long as he does it right.

“I’m still going to dunk,” Johnson told the Detroit Free Press. “I just won’t touch the rim.”

Unfortunately for Johnson, that’s not going to fly. The NFL didn’t pass a new rule against touching the cross bar while dunking; it just announced that it will re-interpret an already existing rule against using the ball as a prop. Referees will now consider the ball to be used as a prop when a player dunks it over the goal post — regardless of whether the player touches the goal post in the process — and refs will flag dunking players with 15-yard celebration penalties.

So Johnson is going to have to find a new way to celebrate his touchdowns. He can thank Graham and the powers that be in the No Fun League for that.

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69 Responses to “Calvin Johnson: “I’m still going to dunk, I just won’t touch the rim””
  1. donnymacjack says: Apr 26, 2014 7:08 PM

    So Malcolm Smith will go forward in history as the last player to ever (legally) dunk the football. And it will have been part of a Super Bowl MVP performance after a pick-6 of Peyton Manning. It really doesn’t get any better than that for a former 7th round draft pick. Great kid. This is why I love the NFL.

  2. gomybirdsgo says: Apr 26, 2014 7:08 PM

    The NFL is so “the Man”

  3. louiedogg16 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:09 PM

    Its Megatron, let him do what he wants.

  4. 2ruefan says: Apr 26, 2014 7:11 PM

    If the rule is interpreted strictly, anything besides handing the ball to the ref or just laying it on the ground should be a penalty.

  5. bennyb82 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:12 PM

    If he is scoring TD’s then I will take it. So it either pushes the extra point back or makes the kickoff relevant again.

  6. krypticdoes says: Apr 26, 2014 7:13 PM

    Thats right

  7. bennyb82 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:14 PM

    The NFL should allow players to celebrate as long as they have no arrests in the last year.

  8. krypticdoes says: Apr 26, 2014 7:14 PM

    Thats right megatron, dont let those autobots bring you down.

  9. ninerknucklehead says: Apr 26, 2014 7:14 PM

    cross over then dunk with no ball….DAMN DA MAN

  10. espo725 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:15 PM

    “donnymacjack says:
    Apr 26, 2014 7:08 PM
    So Malcolm Smith will go forward in history as the last player to ever (legally) dunk the football. And it will have been part of a Super Bowl MVP performance after a pick-6 of Peyton Manning. It really doesn’t get any better than that for a former 7th round draft pick. Great kid. This is why I love the NFL.”

    Dude that was the worst dunk attempt Ive seen. He couldn’t even get up. I hope ur kidding. Drew Brees has had better dunks than Smith’s …

  11. raidersandlakers says: Apr 26, 2014 7:15 PM

    This just in smiling or hand slapping after scoring a touchdown is now considered a 15-yard penalty. In other news the NFL draft will be moved to a month from now……

  12. ninerknucklehead says: Apr 26, 2014 7:16 PM

    crass over then DUNK and hang there 4 a few…..DAMN DA MAN

  13. johnnycash19 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:16 PM

    bennyb82 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:12 PM

    If he is scoring TD’s then I will take it. So it either pushes the extra point back or makes the kickoff relevant again.

    ——

    LOL how funny would that be? Players start dunking after touchdowns to get the flag to make kickoffs relevant again as a “screw you” to the NFL. I would love that.

  14. ninerknucklehead says: Apr 26, 2014 7:18 PM

    cross over then DUNK + hang there for a little …….cheeeee DAMN DA MAN

  15. seahawkfanfrom1970s says: Apr 26, 2014 7:18 PM

    Why the need for all these “look at me” touchdown celebrations? What’s wrong with just going back to the good old spike?

  16. chinahand11 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:27 PM

    Pete Johnson, FB for the old Bengals, had the spike I enjoyed the most. He would spike it behind him, over his back, BOOM! Big guy, that Pete. Made a statement when he scored. Doubt he could dunk, though. Might be wrong.

  17. marvsleezy says: Apr 26, 2014 7:29 PM

    Maybe just learn how to dance??

  18. ariani1985 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:35 PM

    Touchdowns vs league -18
    TOUCHDOWNS vs vs packers-16

  19. Pittsburgh Steelers says: Apr 26, 2014 7:37 PM

    That won’t stop the refs from throwing a flag.

  20. chaseutley says: Apr 26, 2014 7:38 PM

    They do specify dunking the “ball.” How long before we see the NFL’s first pylon dunk?

  21. rgledz says: Apr 26, 2014 7:38 PM

    If this celebration would have started in Green Bay it would still be legal. Any pre-planned celebration is illegal……..unless it’s the Lame-beau leap. No other team can fundraise/sell “stock” to raise money for stadium improvements……except for Green Bay. Every team must have one majority owner……you can finish the rest. NFL…..the Not Fair League.

  22. jredshoes says: Apr 26, 2014 7:40 PM

    Good for you. If I had any money I’d pay your fine just to tell the commissioner to shove it!

  23. thestrategyexpert says: Apr 26, 2014 7:42 PM

    I vote for him to Barry it.

  24. StammerTime91 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:45 PM

    All those peyton lovers downing that first comment. Great comment @donnymacjack. And too many rules on celebrations for my comment. Im neutral on weather dancing after a td is good or not but let the players make a fool of themselve if they want. Its their rep they are risking so let them decide what to do, either flip the ball to the ref like walter payton or slam it down like Graham.

  25. StammerTime91 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:49 PM

    Altho I may point out that m. Smith’s dunk was bad but it still was an atempt for a dunk.

  26. jamarcusgabbert says: Apr 26, 2014 7:51 PM

    Ndamukong Suh gets a sack, and starts smiling. 25 yard penalty and 100,000$ fine.

  27. wayneflores says: Apr 26, 2014 7:52 PM

    Stupid, let them dunk !

  28. kd75 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:54 PM

    Hire Dikembe Mutumbo to stand in the end zone wagging his finger at whoever scores.

  29. homerhanky82 says: Apr 26, 2014 7:58 PM

    The Nba should follow suit. Brimg back the lost art of the mid range jumper!

  30. getoutgoodell says: Apr 26, 2014 7:58 PM

    Another great change to the game, Roger.

  31. jimnaizeeum says: Apr 26, 2014 8:04 PM

    He can thank Graham and the powers that be in the No Fun League for that.

    You know what is really no fun? Having a game delayed because someone does something stupid. I loved Walter Peyton’s celebrations…hand the ball to the ref, act like you’ve been there before.

  32. blue275 says: Apr 26, 2014 8:05 PM

    Just flip it to the ref like Barry used to.

  33. threatlevelxmidnight says: Apr 26, 2014 8:08 PM

    No. We can blame Jimmy Graham for this new rule. If he didn’t go and yank the crossbar down like some roided up idiot, this rule would not exist.

  34. staffordsyear says: Apr 26, 2014 8:15 PM

    Stupid, soon enough the NFL the will implement the Barry Sanders rule. After scoring said touchdown immediately hand the ball to the ref or receive a 10 yard penalty after kickoff.

  35. psly2124 says: Apr 26, 2014 8:27 PM

    How exactly are stupid celebrations labeled the no fun league. Two of the greatest players jerry rice and Barry sanders never did anything but hand the ball to the referee. Maybe if players took cues from those two they would. Become better players instead of worrying about dunking the football down by 4 touchdowns.

  36. 700levelvet says: Apr 26, 2014 8:32 PM

    Nothing and I mean nothing was offensive than McNabb attempting to moonwalk after scoring…It was so bad

  37. baltimorons says: Apr 26, 2014 8:38 PM

    I hope they stop the “lame”bo leap.

  38. conquerpeace4d says: Apr 26, 2014 9:06 PM

    Players that score Touchdowns in overtime can dunk and there can be no penalty, because the game is over as soon as the score. Apparently, Haloti Ngata can dunk. I hope he recovers a fumble for a TD, dunks it and hangs on until the upright completely fall over. On Roger Goodell.

  39. 84smooninlambeaunevergetsold says: Apr 26, 2014 9:17 PM

    How soon before they start flagging players, for scoring touchdowns?

  40. rfgatwordpress says: Apr 26, 2014 9:45 PM

    Do a finger roll instead…

  41. ohnoflorio says: Apr 26, 2014 9:47 PM

    You know he will get flagged anyway — doesn’t matter though, regardless it will be a touchback afterwards. It would be anyway….the celebration penalty should be applied after the KO, not before — so if it’s a TB, it will be half the distance and the receiving team will start from the 10…

  42. greymares says: Apr 26, 2014 9:56 PM

    WHY ???

  43. watermelon1 says: Apr 26, 2014 10:32 PM

    Or… He could just take the 15 yard penalty every time.

    If he does it often enough they might just stop flagging it. Kind of like how Seattle defense commuter interference so often they just stopped calling it on them.

  44. psly2124 says: Apr 26, 2014 10:52 PM

    How about instead of a penalty players are forced to do the warren sapp touchdown dance until there team gets the ball back

  45. albundy4tds1game says: Apr 26, 2014 10:54 PM

    Nothing and I mean nothing was offensive than McNabb attempting to moonwalk after scoring…It was so bad

    Show me one person that can moonwalk with cleats on?

  46. kwickett85 says: Apr 26, 2014 10:56 PM

    Didn’t know goal posts have rims.

  47. hyperalgesia says: Apr 26, 2014 10:56 PM

    Can the goal posts be fixed like the backboards in the nba were? If not, hire me, I can make some calls. I have time until May.

  48. marcinhouston says: Apr 26, 2014 11:51 PM

    If Graham and Johnson both dunked why is Grahams fault for getting the celebration banned? The media just preferred picking on Graham and the Failclowns used a junior high grade goalpost in an NFL game which endangered Graham and NFL fans who expect heavy equipment above their heads to be better secured. The Failclowns should have been penalized when their shoddy goalpost failed and delayed the game. No other NFC South or North goalpost failed.

  49. bigearl61 says: Apr 27, 2014 12:38 AM

    What about a layup?

  50. nflhof says: Apr 27, 2014 12:47 AM

    Finger Roll baby!

  51. jwbulldogs says: Apr 27, 2014 2:39 AM

    If the NFL don’t ban the leap in Green Bay it shouldn’t ban anything. I’m not a Green Bay fan, but I’m not against the leap. I just want my team to stop them from scoring so they can’t leap. Guys like Megatron are paid well to entertain. Many people find the celebrations entertaining. We loved the superbowl shuffle and other things that are now taboo in the No Fun League. Eventually they are going to drive away many of the loyal fan because it will be less entertaining.

  52. sgl24pack says: Apr 27, 2014 4:44 AM

    The excitement level of “dunking” a football = zero

  53. ghent32 says: Apr 27, 2014 7:26 AM

    And if he does, I pray that he gets flagged regardless. I don’t think the league will care whether the post is touched, it’s “dunking” that illegal, not touching the post.

    This is the problem with these diva players these days. This is disappointing from Johnson because he seems to be a stand-up dude, but when players say things like this AFTER the NFL implements the rule just further shows that players these days believe they are bigger than the league.

  54. Mr. C says: Apr 27, 2014 9:04 AM

    Why don’t they just kill two birds with one stone and make the goal post crossbar higher? It would definitely make field goals harder and nobody could dunk it anyways. Solved without slowing down the game even more.

  55. tjacks7 says: Apr 27, 2014 9:37 AM

    The NFL is really going to screw this up when these ridiculous penalties combined with the ridiculous decision to move back extra points lead to 75 year extra point attempts.

  56. 6superbowls says: Apr 27, 2014 10:04 AM

    It’s Roger’s league and he needs bonus money. What a stoopid rule??? Ever since Roger the Tsar came on board, the NFL has become more and more difficult to tolerate with it’s dumb rules and even more ridiculous fines. The game will be dead in 10 years.

  57. bobsacamano2000 says: Apr 27, 2014 10:07 AM

    if the ball is a prop and there is no new rule about the crossbars, then technically it’s ok to just fake dunk over the cross bars…maybe hang on them for good measure…

  58. justintuckrule says: Apr 27, 2014 10:12 AM

    I’m all for celebrating but Dunking a football is almost as lame as a wr signaling first down after a catch (unless you’re a DE that scored on a freak INT like JPP did on romo…. That dunk was sick because you never expected a dude like that to have such ups… Megatron and graham.. Meh… We all know they can jump)

  59. bcgreg says: Apr 27, 2014 10:27 AM

    We’ll see how long that lasts when they throw a flag on you after your first TD.

    Personally, it should only be a penalty if the goal post gets knocked off kilter and delays the game. Otherwise, dunk away.

  60. geomega27 says: Apr 27, 2014 10:57 AM

    no. Malcolm Smith with go forward in history as “Malcolm Smith who?”

  61. realskipbayless says: Apr 27, 2014 11:05 AM

    Next year gronk will spike the ball after a TD and the ball will go in a refs eyes and then they will make a rule against spiking the ball.

  62. lionrexx says: Apr 27, 2014 11:20 AM

    Everyone should dunk the ball when they score a TD….stand up to Roger until he stops with the rules to prevent players from celebrating something they train all year to do….score a TD. Why don’t the players stand up to him and strike if he don’t quit taking their money….these rules weren’t in the CBA….why are yhey allowed to make up rules as they go along?….I don’t get it….

  63. mattfrommi says: Apr 27, 2014 11:24 AM

    I say hand the ball to the ref and walk away…. then go hang on the goalposts.
    As long as it’s not dunking right?

  64. csilojohnson says: Apr 27, 2014 12:07 PM

    Damn MDS your last line stole my comment.
    ah well.
    No Fun League strikes again.
    They take themselves to seriously.

  65. bigearl61 says: Apr 27, 2014 12:08 PM

    Reverse 360° between the legs LAYUP!!
    WNBA style

  66. mattyork1972 says: Apr 27, 2014 1:23 PM

    Then the spin or the football spin is also illegal now too! Right? That’s the ultimate using the football as a prop.

  67. mattyork1972 says: Apr 27, 2014 1:24 PM

    No more spiking the ball either.

  68. ivanpavlov0000 says: Apr 27, 2014 5:07 PM

    Megatron’s comments are just a further demonstration of how the Lions are completely out of control and have no interest in following the rules.

    He’s just as crazy as Suh!

  69. GrossmanDaSexCannon says: Apr 28, 2014 12:57 AM

    If Jimmy Graham knocks the crossbar askew with no ball, is it not a penalty? Furthermore, can he be my hero if he does?

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