Last year, the taunting rule was flagged for offseason consideration. For taunts happening during a play, the league pondered the possibility of changing the foul from its current status as a dead-ball infraction.
After Seahawks (now Lions) receiver Golden Tate drew a flag for an extended in-play taunt of Rams safety Rodney McLeod, NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explained that an adjustment to the enforcement could be made in the offseason.
“A lot of people felt that the touchdown shouldn’t have counted [but] a taunting foul is always treated as a dead-ball foul, meaning whatever happened during the play counts, and the foul is enforced on the next play, which would be the kickoff,” Blandino said at the time on NFL Network. “In college, this action would take back the touchdown. Tate started taunting at the 25-yard line. The college rule, that’s enforced at the spot of the foul, so they’d go from a touchdown to first-and-10 at the 40, which would be a gigantic penalty. The NFL rule, it’s a dead-ball foul, it’s enforced on the kickoff. But I’m sure that’s something that the Competition Committee will look at in the offseason.”
Per a league source, the Competition Committee did indeed consider the situation in the offseason. But the Competition Committee decided not to change the enforcement of the taunting penalty.
And so for a play like Tate’s, the kickoff will continue to be moved from the 35 to the 20.The source says there’s no plan to revisit the issue in May, even though taunting has become a point of emphasis for 2014.