Jimmy Graham says you can’t have fun in the NFL anymore


Saints tight end Jimmy Graham says his two penalties and his $30,000 fine for dunking the ball over the goal post show a problem facing the NFL.

Graham called the fine too “steep” and said “you can’t really have fun anymore.”

The point Graham raises is one many players and fans have raised through the years, as the NFL has cracked down on celebrations that are choreographed, celebrations involving props, celebrations that involve a player going to the ground, and so on. NFL, the critics say, stands for No Fun League.

It’s worth remembering, however, that this rule is in place because Graham knocked a goal post off-kilter while dunking last year in Atlanta, causing a lengthy delay. That dunk may have been fun for Graham, but it wasn’t very fun for the fans to sit around waiting for the game to re-start.

Perhaps a better celebration rule would be based on whether or not it delays the game. If you dunk a ball over a goal post, that’s OK. If you dunk a ball over a goal post and move the goal post in the process, causing the game to be disrupted, that’s a penalty and a fine. The same could be done for other celebrations: If a player scores a touchdown, tosses the ball to the official and then does a dance with his teammates in the end zone, it should only be a penalty if the officials have to wait until the players are done dancing to spot the ball for the extra point.

There’s some truth to Graham’s criticism of the NFL. But it’s also true that Graham brought this rule upon himself.

101 responses to “Jimmy Graham says you can’t have fun in the NFL anymore

  1. Yeah you’re not allowed to complain about the NFL cracking down on celebrations when one of your celebrations broke part of the field.

  2. How about you just score and hand the ball to the official? The fun and entertainment IS THE GAME!!!!!

  3. I guess playing the game isn’t fun for this punk. Well if dunkin’ is the only thing that makes it fun for him, maybe he oughta get the heck outta football!

  4. The funny thing about it is that he did it to the Falcons in 2011 as well, but it didn’t take 23 minutes to fix. There was a commercial break, and then it took about three minutes after they came back from the break. So it took about five minutes to fix. Weak goal posts, another reason to hate the Falcons. Ha! WHO DAT!?

  5. I like your ideas for compromise Mr. Smith. The celebrations shouldn’t slow the officials from doing their jobs, or slow the game down. And as long as they don’t, lets get back to the days of GOOD end zone celebrations (think Ocho). Fan’s 30 and under love that stuff.

  6. I don’t know, I bet paydays are pretty fun. So what you can’t celebrate? Scoring touchdowns is his job. When I perform well at my job I don’t spike my laptop or do a funky dance, why do they need to?

    Score the touchdown, give the ball to the ref, act like you’ve been there before.

  7. Completely agree that it should only be a penalty if it actually disrupts the game, been saying that from the start. Then again, I suppose you should still get a DUI even if you don’t play bumper cars on the way back from the bar…

  8. Yet the Lambeau Leep, which takes even more time off the game than the goal post dunk, lives on…

  9. boo hoo Jimmy Graham…. yeah, no fun league…you guys don’t look like your having ANY fun during games. What is it about the Saints and whiners, they are full of them. I am sure Drew Brees will be DEMANDING an explanation via twitter now.

  10. You get paid and have fun playing the game of football but not football dunking. Can’t you tell the differences? Saints will always be known as cheaters. Bounty!!!

  11. ok, got it Jimmy.. the NFL needs to be a “fun” game when you want to do your played out dunking routine, but it’s just a “business” when it’s time to hold out for more money..

  12. “It’s worth remembering, however, that this rule is in place because Graham knocked a goal post off-kilter while dunking last year in Atlanta, causing a lengthy delay.”

    I remember it being fixed before they came back from a small commercial break. I would hardly call that lengthy, but still a delay nonetheless.

    I obviously don’t have a stat to put to this but I would guess that less than 1% of goalpost dunks actually cause this delay. I don’t think celebrations that fall in that > 99% category should be penalized because of the celebrations in the < 1% category.

    Also if anyone understands this rule (because I don't think I do), is the football not considered a prop when spiking the ball after a TD?

  13. I understand the reason for the banning of end zone celebrations. While I enjoyed them, the fact is that without the ban, certain players (like Ochocinco) would have begun to do all-out choreographed dance routines. Without the ban, TV stations would have started covering these dances as a side-game to the game itself, which would overall distract from the game.

    I liked end-zone celebrations, but I was definitely afraid of what they were morphing into.

  14. Fact is the NFL is blatantly disregarding the number one reason we watch when they enforce these rules. We want to be entertained. TD celebrations are entertaining. Hopefully the competition committee thinks about this and adjusts the rules to more of a middle ground as you’ve suggested.

  15. Everyone here is so wishy washy about everything. A rule changes and 90% of the comments say either “Goodell sucks” or “No Fun League”

    A player says it and its…”Just play”….”Try Winning”…”Stop crying”…hypocrites at their finest

  16. Jimmy Graham is a whiny cry-baby who should have been fined $45k – $15k for the 1st offense and double for the 2nd.

    I’m Jimmy!


  17. He is a million percent right!! Its not fun.some of you are missing his point…it’s a game and they bust their ASS all yr to stay in shape , exercise etc for this game and they can’t have any fun when they reach the ultimate goal of a touchdown? ?!! …it really is absurd! the knocking down of the goal post ByJimmy was a 1 time accident. .you dont bade a rule off of 1 time

  18. You get payed millions of dollars to play football and it’s not fun anymore because you can’t have your “look at meee” moment?

  19. The Saints need to put a muzzle on this egotistical brat.

    Jimmy, how about you act like a team player instead of throw a tantrum about not being allowed to do something that potentially hurts your team and does nothing to further the goal of winning? Get over it already!

  20. Hate to be the bearer of bad news for Graham, but the calculus here is simple. The NFL does not want another game delayed due to a dunk throwing a goalpost out of alignment, and so decided to no longer allow dunking. The fine is steep specifically to make it too onerous for players to ignore. And the NFL was proven right when Graham initially ignored the ban and did two dunks…only to backpedal after the fact, likely in part due to the fines. Mission accomplished for the NFL, I would think.

    (On another note, given the way Graham tried to swindle the Saints after the fact by suddenly calling himself a WR, and how he’s now talking up the fine here, I suspect his decision to no longer dunk has a lot more to do with his wallet than his “not wanting to hurt the team”. He’s quite a role model!)

  21. FUN is playing the game. If playing the game isn’t fun anymore, then get out of this no fun league and go play basketball. Then you can dunk anytime you want.

  22. Fine Atlanta for using inferior goalposts. They should also get fined for impersonating an NFL team. And, don’t get me started on Meek Smith…..

  23. Winning is fun. Just try winning.
    The Saints, and Jimmy Graham, are 42-17 since he entered the league.

    Id say they have done plenty of that.

  24. Hey Jimmy, I think they let you dunk over the goalpost in the CFL. Go there. Sure, you won’t be getting paid as much, but at least you’ll be having fun.

  25. Overall, I think almost all of these TD celebrations are just ridiculous. That being said, is it really a big deal if this guy wants to dunk the football? Rather see someone do that, then go on a 2 minute rehearsed scene after a 1 yd touchdown.

  26. He is correct. Apparently you can only have fun as an owner because you can get away with all the trouble you want.

    Just go ask Jim Irsay and Jimmy Haslam.

  27. All of the American work force that has to work real hard for a whole year and still not make as much money for that year as you make for one game sympathies with you Jimmy. Grow up.

  28. I think that for him to have detractors is ridiculous and unnecessary. This is the fattest country in the world arguably and they are criticizing athletes?

    Also, what about those declining ticket sales??

    Face it. SPORTS is entertainment and you can’t take the entertainment out of The entertainment.

    Plus, I love how alcohol is bad for you, but all these criticizing fans want everything. Face it fans are bigger brats than athletes are because they want athletes to be always under their control meanwhile they want no one to control them.

  29. I must admit the game has become very boring and lacks personality… it’s like watching robots play… I say let them live… let them “CELEBRATE” and express themselves… they are playing a game just winning can be boring at times too… All I’m saying is these are people and everyone wants to express themselves… it doesn’t hurt the quality of the game it makes the experience better and gives you a better insight on the player not just the team… They should Celebrate because there will be a day when they can’t score or make big play anymore and it is the celebrations that will put a smile on their faces (I.E.. The Icky Shuffle)…Indeed…

  30. Come on, Katy Perry or Rihanna for Superbowl halftime. That’s sort of fun for the once a year NFL fan right? The NFL is always looking out for it’s core audience. Whether that be in Great Britain or in Canada. What, you don’t like pink the entire month of October? That’s fun right? I mean, I even owned a pink windbreaker once. I mean, it was in the sixth grade, but whatever.

  31. Personally, I was pretty tired of SportsCenter highlights consisting of “look at me! look at me!” end zone celebrations. I’m glad they outlawed that stuff.
    And it’s just plain stupid for a player to say they just can’t have any fun unless they can dunk over the goalpost. Give me a break.

  32. Did he have fun last year getting shut down twice against seattle? He got to goal post dunk when the game was already over. Was that a good time. Jimmy? Did you enjoy disappearing when the season was on the line?

    guy is good but he is a weed.

  33. You all are some lame fuddy duddies. I watch to be entertained and that includes td celebrations. ‘Handing the ball to the ref’ is as boring as the extra point.

    Without T.O. Defacing the cowboys stars, that game takes on a different meaning.

    Lighten up people.

  34. Saints fan here. I have never been a fan of outrageous celebrations. That’s why I love when Colston or Pierre Thomas score. Hand the ball to the ref and head to the sidelines.

    But, how in heck did Jimmy get fined $15,000 per dunk and Johnny Finger Football got fined $12,000 for flipping the bird? The middle finger is far worse than a dunk.

  35. I grew up watching stuff like the electric slide and the iggy shuffle. That stuff was fun. I understand the league cracking down on the long drawn out stuff and Jimmy’s knocking the goalpost out of level can’t be tolerated, but he’s right otherwise. There is no harm in a quickly executed TD celebration. How long before they outlaw the Lambeau leap?

  36. This article is spot on, I’ve been saying for some time if your celebration causes the goal post to need to be adjusted it should be a penalty but if doesn’t, no harm no foul. The NFL is entertainment let the players entertain us. Very few people earn the right to play in the NFL, let them have some fun! If you get a TD in the NFL that’s a great accomplishment enjoy the moment! Roger Goodell is ruining the game with all the rules, pretty soon it’s going to be a flag football league.

  37. See if you can understand this, Jimmy.

    The NFL is YOUR JOB, not a playground. YOu are supposed to work hard to help your team win. When your team wins, the fans have fun.

    See how that works?

    Frickin’ spoiled millionaire.

  38. So when a player spikes the ball and it bounces 50 yards away, is that not a delay? Lets just throw the flag after every TD when the ball isn’t handed directly to the ref.

  39. Poor Jimmy

    Stop the belly aching you big cry baby. Go find another job that pays you this kind of money and allows you to have fun. Wake up and join the real world

  40. Explain to me why the Lambeau leap is ok but dunking is a penalty?


    Lambeau leap has never caused damage to the field or delayed the game… In fact it gets fans more involved with the celebrations, the player is excited, the fans are excited, and they get to share a moment together. That is why it is ok for the Lambeau leap to not cause penalty, it is an example of a good celebration that represents a great aspect of the NFL.

  41. Show boating is ridiculous and so out of line now. Pointing after a first down might make me puke the next time I see it. I say flag anyone for spiking the ball or tossing the ball away from an official. There is no need for it anymore in the game. There is nothing original about showboating anymore. Get off the field and high five your teammates.

  42. It’s just no fun when I can’t celebrate a touchdown by hanging from the goal post like an idiot for 20 minutes and breaking it which will then take another 90 minutes to fix it. NO FUN!

  43. The Lambeau Leap is part of the game. And as such deserves to be grandfathered into any rule changes for eternity. It also takes place off the field of play and impacts nobody. Live with it.

  44. I think the fact that a player would knowingly cause a team a penalty just because they want to celebrate is bothersome.

    I don’t mind a little celebrating but it had gone too far for me. To me what started as fun reached a point where I would just end up rolling my eyes. I smh when I read that restricting celebrating takes away from the game. Very little of it seems entertaining or it the slight bit creative. I may not enjoy it but I recognize that it’s just personal preference.

  45. touchdownroddywhite says:
    Aug 26, 2014 9:36 AM
    Fact is the NFL is blatantly disregarding the number one reason we watch when they enforce these rules. We want to be entertained. TD celebrations are entertaining.
    The game is why people watch, not the dances. Perhaps you are confusing NFL games with Dancing With The Stars–no flags there and you can see an occasional NFL player dancing

  46. The Lambeau leap only benefits Green Bay… and it is more dangerous than someone dunking a goal post… you have a 220 pounds man jumping and coming down on fans with helmets and shoulder pads on and that’s allowed get real… Let them have the celebrations all those against it… the only ones opposed to it clearly never scored… Indeed…

  47. I don’t like that Jimmy Graham is getting all the blame for the goalpost issue. Tony Gonzalez had been loosening that thing up for years before Graham finally knocked it loose!

  48. Bring back the T.O.’s and Chad Johnson even Joe Horns “celebration” the one that took some thought… Sport center was filled with good time… now all we have is the final score of a games and a Johnny Manziel sighting…Indeed…

  49. I’ve heard enough of his whining. He whined about being classified a WR instead of a TE so he could make more money. Shut up your just a TE.

    Then he whines about the goalpost dunk that he didn’t even originate and has no one to blame but himself for it being illegal now. What a diva.

  50. How stale and boring some of you are. They can’t celebrate or but are forced to do interviews. But dnt say to much! That’s also against the rules. This is sports ENTERTAINMENT. The league sucks now, it’s so focused on all the wrong things. Smh. The ref’s are a bigger impact on outcomes of gamed for crying out.loud!!

  51. Why all the jealous hate? Everyone would be happy if he was on your team so chill out, he doesn’t deserve all this hate…pitiful

  52. Such vitriol. JG never complained about his contract despite outperforming his salary for four years. He only exercised his rights as provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Now he is viewed (out of jealousy) as a “me first” guy. Finally, all you clowns criticizing his play down the stretch conveniently forget JG played with a torn Plantar Fascia which sidelines the average player. JG didn’t miss a game and didn’t make excuses.

    Oh, did you draft him in fantasy? Of course you did.

  53. i don’t even mind the dunk; and it’s not like he’s the only one who does that. why is it a penalty and a $30k fine when the whole problem could be resolved with a $4 cotter pin?

  54. You really wanna know what makes games so long? Its all the commercials!!! A team drives down and scores, then a commercial. Team kicks off, commercial. Player hurt on field, commercial. Team takes time out, commercial. Etc.. etc… The commercial after a KO is the stupidest of all!! I mean, a team scores and they go to a commercial and then they come back, show the KO and immediately go to another commercial. You see the offense run out on the field after the KO but then they have to wait til after the commercials to start play. Its the nfls greed that really delays games by trying to cram as many commercials in as possible!!!!!

  55. well jimmy, it isn’t very fun being at a game or watching on tv when that game is delayed due to a player knocking a goalpost or anything else that impacts the field of play.

  56. No, his contract expired and the Saints tagged him. That’s not complaining about your contract.

  57. They should’ve paid Jimmy and the Saints for improving the aesthetic of that circus tent of a stadium.

  58. The game is a lot better when the focus is on the game, instead of the reality-show personalities trying to make it about themselves.

    How about the guard that sprung you for a touchdown having his own absurd celebration? Wasn’t he just as critical to the score as the jerk that carries it in and thinks he does it all by himself?

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