Referees want NFL to eliminate celebration penalties

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NFL fans, players and referees all seem to agree that the league office is too concerned about cracking down on touchdown celebrations.

The head of the NFL Referees Association, Scott Green, said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that the on-field officials think the league office is putting them in a difficult situation with trying to figure out where the line is between a celebration that deserves a penalty and one that can be permitted. Green said the officials would prefer to eliminate penalties and instead enforce any celebration issues with fines.

“Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone,” Green said. “We don’t really enjoy that. If we could get to a point where it would simply be fines by the league, that would be great. The issue we’ll still have is that guys can get pretty creative out there. The question of whether it’s a foul or not a foul, hopefully we’ll get closer to more of a black-and-white situation.”

Unfortunately, the NFL is considering going in the opposite direction, and enforcing celebration violations only with on-field penalties, not with fines after the fact. That puts even more pressure on the officials to figure out where the seemingly arbitrary lines on celebration penalties are drawn.

99 responses to “Referees want NFL to eliminate celebration penalties

  1. ““Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone,” ”

    Actually I would think there are far worse things than that. Such as the regular blown game changing calls the refs make.

  2. Trust the NFL to do the exact wrong thing on an issue, until it blows up in their face.

  3. Not only should celebrations not be penalized, there should be a weekly reward for AFC & NFC Celebration of the Week just like the weekly offensive & defensive performance acknowledgements

  4. If you don’t want to see someone celebrate after a TD, keep him out of the endzone.

    If you score a TD in an NFL game you deserve a little celebration.

  5. ing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone,”
    ~~~~~~~~~
    Nah, there are worse things…like watching a good play and then not being able to celebrate safely for 15 seconds while we wait to see if any flags were thrown for stuff on the other side of the field.

    As for the refs not wanting to try and figure it out, just use a simple litmus test. Anything choreographed ahead of time is not a spontaneous celebration of success–those are ‘look at me’ demonstrations that ought to be flagged.

  6. You can thank Chad Johnson, Joe Horn and Terrell Owens for the league’s crackdown on celebrations. As long as celebrations don’t involve props. Let teammates celebrate with each other. If you are taunting the other team, then you should be flagged. Teammates dancing together, just let it be.

  7. The penalty is retarded anyways. 10 yards tacked on to the ensuing kickoff return guarantees a return as teams are going to try and place it inside the 5, they arent going to blast it through the back of the endzone and spot em at the 35. Goes against the whole lets reduce kickoff’s quest.

  8. Fine goodell for unsportsmanlike conduct. Multiple 15 yard penalties till he is booted out of the league

  9. maust1013 says:
    Apr 16, 2017 12:21 PM

    Enough already. Just give them 30 seconds and short of props or anything not befitting a PG-13 audience let it go.
    ***************************************
    I’m OK with this. In my unpopular opinion, the celebration penalty is one of the few things the NFL has gotten right. The props, the lewd acts, and the choreographed dance moves are pretty unwatchable.

  10. Great solution. To require the refs to decide exactly how the front office will feel about the intricacies of some new creative celebration is just asking for constant conflict.

    Anything egregious should be penalized, anything else should just be handled on an escalating fine basis by the league. That way, the league gets to enforce punishments exactly how they see fit.

  11. The NFL network ran a replay of SB XIII over the weekend because of the death of Dan Rooney. One the greatest SBs of alltime, full of Hall of Famers and players who should be in the HoF. I noticed a lot of great plays by both teams on both sides of the ball. The lack of “Look at me! I’m the greatest!” celebrating after every play was also very noticeable, almost ridiculously so. Today’s culture celebrating stye over substance is extremely frustrating. To think we are having to debate this saddens me.

  12. Penalties for end zone celebrations rarely affect the outcome of a game. The penalty is enforced on the kickoff and all it will usually mean is that maybe the receiving team will get a chance for a runback, since a 15 yard penalty and kicking off from the 20 yard line will probably prevent a kick deep enough for a touchback. Of course, that’s exactly what the league is trying to prevent, so they’re really defeating their own purpose by enforcing the touchdown celebrations with penalties.

  13. Simple solution, which means the NFL won’t do it.

    Eliminate the penalty for celebrations and use penalties that already exist. Delay of game (if the celebration interferes with the game flow. And Unsportsmanlike conduct if the celebration is antagonizing towards the opposition.

  14. Get rid of the penalties, If the Commish has a need to be seen as strong and decisive, he could always take to Twitter to make stupid comments about the players.

  15. No extra time, penalize for delay of game if the celebration interferes with spotting the ball for the point after. Unless the celebration is obscene or offensive, I don’t care how choreographed it is. Let em do Rockette kicks on the goal line, I’m probably on my way to the fridge for my own celebration by then anyway and will never see it.

  16. I hate the celebrations. It’s poor sportsmanship. We see more and more inane celebrations for the smallest of accomplishments. Those guys couldn’t play in the NBA because you can’t have a 30 second celebration after every basket.

  17. lingsun54 says:
    Apr 16, 2017 1:48 PM
    I hate the celebrations. It’s poor sportsmanship. We see more and more inane celebrations for the smallest of accomplishments. Those guys couldn’t play in the NBA because you can’t have a 30 second celebration after every basket.

    _____________________________________

    I agree with you — I don’t like the celebrations, either. It passes down to kids, too, which is why I don’t like it.

    But it’s here to stay now because ESPN and other networks have featured so much of it on their sports shows for years, that the players now have grown up watching it.

    I don’t care anymore, though. The players are morons who dance around like jumping beans when they make a first down, even when their team is losing by a wide margin.

  18. I agree with NFLRA on this issue. Drawing lines for celebrations is silly. Enforce delay of game and taunting fouls. That will keep overly excessive celebrations/taunting to a reasonable, entertains level.

    Realizing the NFL is trying to speed up the game flow, but at the expense of a celebration, is not a good thing. Many other issues hurt flow/entertainment value.

  19. The problem is if you give the players a inch they are going to take a mile on this.

    yeah they should be able to celebrate a bit after scoring, but where do you draw the line?

    This can quickly turn into some choreographed hip-hop dance routine after every touch down, and that i dont want to see.

  20. Now that mayhem has been officially ruled out of football, all that remains are players’ tacky hairdos and tasteless end zone celebrations. Might as well embrace it.

  21. Baseball had a better way of enforcing excessive celebrating. It was called a bean ball.

  22. “And yet the nfl won’t do anything about brady and co cheating with the knee not down in OT for the super bowl this year.”

    That’s because when something is a made up fantasy in some random fan’s head its going to be ignored by the league.

  23. Just depends if the celebration can be translated as taunting.

    As much as fans enjoy when players celebrate a TD, when they do so excessively, it can cause retaliation from the opposition players.

  24. Penalties are beyond the reach of the NFLPA, while fines and suspensions are subject to labor management negotiation. To say you can trade one for the other is not as simple as it seems.

  25. Just adopt the NCAA celebration rules. All the players know them, and they’re easy to enforce.

  26. Im sorry but I personally enjoyed it when players were allowed to celebrate however they felt after a TD. It was a small personal reward after grinding to get in the end zone. Everything is getting so micro-managed it is becoming undesirable to watch. #LET THEM CELEBRATE!

  27. Teams relocating whenever they want and players being given the green light to overtly celebrate scoring… we are only a few steps away from Baseketball.

  28. I pay to see a football game, not to watch grown men dance like 13 year old girls. I say any celebration more than a football spike and a celebration with your team mates warrants a 15 yard penalty and quarter game suspension.

    Let’s get back to football.

  29. raiddawgz says:
    Apr 16, 2017 3:07 PM

    Im sorry but I personally enjoyed it when players were allowed to celebrate however they felt after a TD. It was a small personal reward after grinding to get in the end zone. Everything is getting so micro-managed it is becoming undesirable to watch. #LET THEM CELEBRATE!
    _______________________

    Barry Sanders never celebrated. Neither did Jim Brown. As has been said, act like you’ve been there before.

  30. Jeremy Karp says:
    Apr 16, 2017 12:38 PM

    Too bad the NFL doesn’t care about the fans and referees. They just care about how much green they can fit in their pockets.
    _________________________

    I don’t know about you but I watch the games for the athletic performance, not the dance moves of 12 year old girls.

  31. I still believe they have all the tools they need with delay of game and unsportsmanlike conduct. If a player’s celebration takes too long then delay of game and if it is disrespectful to the other team in a meaningful way then unsportsmanlike conduct. Otherwise who cares what they do.

  32. jayhawk6 says:
    Apr 16, 2017 1:36 PM

    Get rid of the penalties, If the Commish has a need to be seen as strong and decisive, he could always take to Twitter to make stupid comments about the players.
    _________________________

    You must mean just like the cowardly idiot-in-chief we all know.

  33. “This can quickly turn into some choreographed hip-hop dance routine after every touch down, and that i don’t want to see”

    Singling out hip-hop? Your poor grammar goes right along with your bigotry.

  34. Focus on missed holding and offensive pass interference calls, and stop worrying so much about some guys jumping around for 10 seconds.

  35. I used to ref a flag football league, and my stance on celebrations was “Keep it under 10 seconds, no physical contact with the opposition, and PG-13 at worst. Other than that, go nuts.”

    The NFL should adopt the same rules.

  36. Then keep your flag in the pocket.
    Are they going to review to see if a penalty occurred? Will a coach be able to challenge the non-call? Will the NFL have an official in the booth to observe if a penalty occurred? Will the NFL penalize/fine an official for not making a call?
    If you don’t like calling the penalty then keep the flag in the pocket.

  37. Just make the rule NO PROPS. Then send a first grader teacher to training camp to teach these guys what a prop is. If they want to push the envelope fine the hell out of them.

    The stupidity of people makes this a lot harder and complicated than it needs to be.

  38. Celebrations are okay for children – these are grown men doing a JOB – there should be no celebrations of any kind except for spiking the ball after a touchdown.

    The sooner we end the childish first down, interception, tackle, and every Cam Cheating celebration, the better!

  39. No props, no twerks. Anything else that doesn’t interfere with the point after should be allowed, even though many of us think it is stupid. I have much more respect for someone who simply hands the ball to a ref or drops it and jogs back to his sideline, but let the kids have their fun.

  40. personally i do not like the extravagant celebrations…i tune in to watch a competitive sporting event not dancing with the stars

  41. Lazy referees. The NFL is going to turn into the NBA because the refs don’t want to do their job. Instead the players are going to be acting out every stupid thing under the sun. Get ready for the 4 hour game.

  42. If you want to go the “there’s nothing worse” rout with celebrations I’ll say in that respect there’s nothing worse than a player celebrating like a madman after a sack or big play when his team is losing by 4 TDs and his team isn’t coming back with 3 minutes left on the clock.

  43. I like the suggestion: If they need to throw a flag for excessive celebration, it is an immediate player suspension of one quarter with a player fined for his one quarter salary.

    Self control will return quickly..

  44. I disagree with eliminating them. It is definitely needed with the number of poor sports in the NFL. I do think they should lighten up on the rule. If you delay the game in any way with your celebration or act aggressive toward the opposing team it should be a penalty. Otherwise let it go. Guys being happy in the end zone shouldn’t be illegal. Guy running to the 50 yard line to wipe their butt on the opposing teams logo (what brought these rules about in the first place) should be an unsportmanslike conduct ejection.

  45. The players did this to themselves. They use to allow celebrations until idiots like TO and Chad Johnson took it to far. I don’t want a damn cam Newton lame dance routine everytime some bum scores when he’s down by 20.

  46. Where I work, dumb-dumb people showing their behinds is an everyday occurrence. Maybe that’s why I don’t see NFL celebrations on Football Sundays as a big deal.

    Celebration Trumps Education.

  47. Give them about 5 seconds then start the play clock for the PAT. If there is taunting or use of props then throw the flag. If anything cool down the first down celebrations. Those just seem lame.

  48. decapitateme says:
    Apr 16, 2017 6:33 PM
    If Tebow can advertise Jesus, Brady should be able to do the same for his manbro Trump!
    —————————————————————

    LOL. until his wife pulled the plug on that BS.

  49. I agree with the NFL refs. I’d rather the refs enforce the rules of the game instead of making judgment calls on celebrations. Placing the burden of penalizing players at the administrative level seems logical, which means Roger won’t follow that course.

  50. “Just spike the ball and get over it”

    They just need to make sure that their aim is good. If they spike it in the direction of an opposing player, they’ll be flagged for Taunting or Unsportsmanlike Conduct. If they spike it away from anyone and make the refs run to retrieve the ball, they’ll get flagged for Delay of Game. I suppose that just spiking it at their own feet so it doesn’t offend anyone and doesn’t make anyone chase the ball down will work.

  51. People whining about celebrations are the same people who cry about bat flipping in baseball, but don’t care about the pitcher pumping his fist after striking someone out.

  52. senatorblutarsky says:
    Apr 16, 2017 4:01 PM
    raiddawgz says:
    Apr 16, 2017 3:07 PM

    Im sorry but I personally enjoyed it when players were allowed to celebrate however they felt after a TD. It was a small personal reward after grinding to get in the end zone. Everything is getting so micro-managed it is becoming undesirable to watch. #LET THEM CELEBRATE!
    _______________________

    Barry Sanders never celebrated. Neither did Jim Brown. As has been said, act like you’ve been there before.

    Sorry Senator but not every player is Barry Sanders or Jim Brown…to each his own. Just limit it and keep it simple I agree, but no need to get docked 15k for it or blow a game because of it. Nees to find a balanced aproach

  53. harrisonhits2 says:
    Apr 16, 2017 5:17 PM
    If you want to go the “there’s nothing worse” rout with celebrations I’ll say in that respect there’s nothing worse than a player celebrating like a madman after a sack or big play when his team is losing by 4 TDs and his team isn’t coming back with 3 minutes left on the clock.

    ————

    He said he’d like to see you dance after making a sack I doubt you can even stand up straight and catch your breath

  54. Why would the NFL ever do anything that makes sense. I don’t understand why there is even confusion after Troy Vincent made a super clear and useful video on acceptable touchdown celebrations!

  55. Screw the refs!

    We pay their salaries. If they don’t want to enforce the rules: officiate another sport.

    NFL player celebrations are childish Going back to Elmo Wright, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, and Mark Gastineau, the NFL should have banned these “look at me” narcissistic displays decades ago.

  56. senatorblutarsky says:
    Apr 16, 2017 4:01 PM
    raiddawgz says:
    Apr 16, 2017 3:07 PM

    Im sorry but I personally enjoyed it when players were allowed to celebrate however they felt after a TD. It was a small personal reward after grinding to get in the end zone. Everything is getting so micro-managed it is becoming undesirable to watch. #LET THEM CELEBRATE!
    _______________________

    Barry Sanders never celebrated. Neither did Jim Brown. As has been said, act like you’ve been there before.

    16 6
    Report comment

    ——–

    Exactly.

    Also happens to be Goodell’s approach whenever he has a disciplinary hearing.

  57. The problem exists only for the tv viewer. Fans in the stands can see them happen, but at home we have a guy grinding his junk in our face on a 70″ screen, feels like I’m being sexually assaulted at times. The solution is to cut to a wide shot maybe 3 seconds after a TD, stop zooming in on the guys. I’m a Seahawks fan but I’ve had enough of Marshawn’s crotch grabs and Michael Bennett thrusting in my face (though he’s not scoring TDs, my point is just that it bothers me even when my favorite players are doing it)

  58. Simple fix. After a score, quickly set the ball and start the play clock. Delay of game eliminates the point after attempt, and adds a 5 yard penalty on the kickoff. Eventually, teams will police themselves.

  59. This is so easy. Just break to a commercial immediately after the score. Then let the players have a wild celebration in the end zone that only fans who attend the game can see. Then sell video to everyone who wasn’t there that is interested in it. Shocked these money hungry suits haven’t done this already.

  60. NFL got its reputation as the No Fun League for a reason.

    This is how they view things:

    1)Owners: we run the show. Fans, you are there to make us richer. Eat and drink food and beverages costing outrageous prices, come to the games and pay outrageous ticket prices, and never forget that we are people you need to pay homage to.

    2)NFL office: we are in control and never forget it. We will tell you what is right, and by the way, even though you pay a lot of money to be part of this, fans have no say. We will meter out punishment as we see fit, and if someone enjoys themselves what we deem as too much, we will be there to lay down the punishment, and don’t ever forget it.

    3)Officials: we used to have the final say. But since the advent of technology to second guess us, we are worse than ever and never, ever, forget that celebrating a touchdown or something good means someone on the field is enjoying their job and that is bad.

  61. I say it’s time for a little mutiny by the Refs…just stop throwing the flags. Let the league sort it out.

    It’s not like they can just replace the refs on a weekly basis, after the screw up the replacement refs were they won’t even threaten bringing them back and it takes to much time really to train NFL refs to have new crews every year and would just cause more problems.

    Just throw in basic rules, no props, no groups, no longer than say 15 sec, nothing that is a rude/sexual motion. Easily enforced with clear rules.

  62. firstand4ever says:
    Apr 16, 2017 12:49 PM
    You can thank Chad Johnson, Joe Horn and Terrell Owens for the league’s crackdown on celebrations. As long as celebrations don’t involve props. Let teammates celebrate with each other. If you are taunting the other team, then you should be flagged. Teammates dancing together, just let it be.
    _______________________________________

    I would like to thank them actually. Those celebrations were the best and most creative and are still replayed to this day. I HATE people who take a game seriously. Please go away.

  63. ezpkns34 says:
    Apr 16, 2017 12:27 PM

    Not only should celebrations not be penalized, there should be a weekly reward for AFC & NFC Celebration of the Week just like the weekly offensive & defensive performance acknowledgements
    ==================================
    Huh??? THAT is one of the DUMBEST things I have heard!!!
    I know many are blaming Willie White Shoes and Joe Horn and the like, but if it wasn’t for the idiot media of ESPN and such focusing on it, there would be no problem. Instead of helping fans understand the game better, the ESPNs focused on the lowest common denominator clips to get viewers to watch.
    Why don’t we just have a league of celebrations! That will make some happy!!

  64. babygaga19 says:
    Apr 16, 2017 1:19 PM
    I still don’t get why Tebow was given a free pass on all his I Love Jesus stuff. Double standards, I guess.

    Oh I dunno, maybe it has to do with him not having the total focus of his celebration focus solely on the region between his belt and knees.

    People with the smallest amount of class wouldn’t need to ask that question. Or haters.

  65. Instead of fines, penalties, etc. The next time the players team hits the field on offense. Instead of first down, make it auto second down. This will stop it from happening ever again.

  66. Taunting your opponent should absolutely be a 15 yard penalty, simply celebrating should not be.

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