Despite relaxed celebration rules, touching the cross bar remains a penalty

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The NFL has relaxed its celebration rules this year, and some basketball-style celebrations that previously had been penalized are now legal. Just don’t touch the cross bar on a dunk.

A league source tells PFT the officials will now allow celebrations that include layups or finger rolls over the cross bar or shooting the ball through the goal posts. Last year, those types of celebrations drew penalties. This year, they won’t.

But what about the dunk over the cross bar? That one is risky, as the officials will flag a player who touches the cross bar or goal posts. Jumping up and throwing the ball over the cross bar would be OK, but a dunk that includes touching the cross bar would be a penalty.

That penalty goes back to the time in 2013 when then-Saints tight end Jimmy Graham delayed a game by about 20 minutes when he dunked over a goal post and hit the cross bar in the process, knocking the goal post off-balance. The next offseason, the league banned dunks.

A simpler rule might simply be to tie celebrations into delay of game penalties: If the celebration delays the game, it’s a penalty for delay of game. If it doesn’t delay the game, it’s not a penalty.

Instead, the NFL’s rule is this: Some celebrations are OK, but others are a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. If you dunk and touch the goal post in the process, you fall into the latter category.

14 responses to “Despite relaxed celebration rules, touching the cross bar remains a penalty

  1. Just another arbitrary rule that gives the officials wiggle room to penalize the teams Goodell’s favs are playing against but not the teams he wants in the Super Bowl.

  2. That would be like the NBA only calling a foul if the player hanging on the backboard breaks it.

    Yeah, lets encourage the players tilting the uprights by dunking over them. But when they tilt, it’s a penalty. Dumb.

  3. “Instead, the NFL’s rule is this: Some celebrations are OK, but others are a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. If you dunk and touch the goal post in the process, you fall into the latter category.”

    And they should. Knocking the goal post off kilter so you can have a look at me moment is a B move and you deserve to get called out for it. If you can’t clear the crossbar then don’t do the dunk.

  4. This is a perfectly logical rule. It would make no sense whatsoever to allow dunks and only penalize the player if it damaged the goalpost. Why wouldn the league want to risk allowing this and have games be potentially delayed?
    It’s so ridiculous that the rules for this stuff are being relaxed at all. Maybe if you score a touchdown you should just act like a professional who’s been there before and hand the ball to the ref instead of acting like a petulant, self absorbed man child.

  5. The point of the rule is so they don’t damage the goal post, which has happened causing delays. My suggestion is to raise the cross bar to eleven or twelve feet, which will work as long as LaBron sticks to basketball.

  6. Can only imagine how much money it costs to delay the game by 20 minutes. I like the rule, in fact, I think they should just make it a 1 game suspension if they do it. Some players just don’t seem to care when they cost their team 15, especially on a kick-off.

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