The NFL’s coaches and players want guidance regarding what can and can’t be done when celebrating. In his weekly media video, NFL senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino attempts to clear things up.
Here’s what’s allowed: (1) dancing that is not sexually suggestive; (2) celebrations with teammates that are not choreographed; (3) spiking the ball, as long as it’s not directed at an opponent; (4) spinning the ball, as long as it’s not directed to an opponent; (5) bowing to the crowd; (6) saluting; (7) going to the ground in prayer; (8) the “Lambeau Leap”; and (9) handing the ball to the official.
Here’s what isn’t permitted: (1) anything that mimics a violent act, including slashing the throat, shooting guns, and shooting arrows, whether directed at an opponent or not; (2) sexually suggestive dancing; (2) choreographed celebrations; (3) excessive celebrations; (4) prolonged celebrations; (5) spiking or spinning the ball at an opponent; (6) going to the ground; (7) using the ball as a prop; and (8) using any other props.
When it comes to sexually suggestive dancing, the NFL will apply the “know it when you see it” rule.
“If it looks like it, it probably is, and we’re trying to give our officials some consistent guidelines,” Blandino said in the video. So, basically, it’s not a matter of two pumps or three pumps. Any pumps should result in a penalty.
As to choreographed celebrations, Blandino explained that the goal is to avoid efforts by players to come up with bigger and better ways to celebrate.
“Believe me, if we let this go, it will continue to grow and certain players will continue to try to outdo each other, and then it leads to other things. Players stomping on logos, and players hitting those players stomping on logos,” Blandino said.
The rules have been on the books for years. In 2016, it has become a point of emphasis, a fancy label acknowledging that the officials haven’t been enforcing the rules properly. Blandino explained that the fouls will increase at first, and that players and coaches then will adjust.