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.