Refs will penalize players who dunk over the goal post

Getty Images

The goal post dunk, a favored post-touchdown celebration of many NFL players, is going the way of the Ickey Shuffle, the cell phone call, the Sharpie in the sock and all of the other celebrations banned by the No Fun League.

NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino told the Dan Patrick Show that starting this season, dunks will be a penalty. Dan Patrick Show producer Paul Pabst ‏tweets that the NFL has a rule against using the ball as a prop, and apparently that’s the rule that will be used to ban dunks. So it’s not a new rule, it’s a new interpretation of an existing rule.

As we noted a few days ago, the goal post dunk became a concern when Saints tight end (or wide receiver) Jimmy Graham knocked the goal post askew while dunking in Atlanta. The NFL is also considering making the uprights longer, which would make them more top-heavy and therefore potentially more likely to fall over entirely. That would be the NFL equivalent of a dunk that shatters the glass.

It seems unlikely that such a thing would happen, but then again we never thought a dunk would delay the game until Graham’s dunk did it. The NFL apparently doesn’t want to take any chances, and so we have the Jimmy Graham Rule.

153 responses to “Refs will penalize players who dunk over the goal post

  1. was anyone really bothered by that 3 minute (at most) delay to fix the goal post in that saints falcons game? was this really necessary?

  2. No fun league installing the Jimmy Graham rule. Pretty soon its gonna be like the NBA where the slightest sign of emotion gets penalized.

  3. People here will complain about this I’m sure, but dunking over the cross bar adds nothing to the enjoyment of watching a game and can potentially delay it.

  4. The NoFun League does exist. How about refs getting calls correct before the punish players for showing enthusiasm. Icky Woods had the funniest little dance in the 80’s and it never hurt anyone; most fans loved it. If a celebration is not taunting it should be fine. Fans love or hate the player anyway.

  5. Huh?!
    Why do a bunch of old man with nothing else to do…who never played a snap of football before…sit around and come up with rule and rule…
    For no purpose but to take excitement away from the players and the game.

    Even you give the ball back to the ref after a score…that’s cool…

    If you want to do a slight celebration that does not disrespect your opponent that should be cool….
    if the fans enjoy it leave it alone!

    You don’t have to add rules just because you can.

  6. Hate more rules, but I’m fine with this. Don’t need players potentially bending a point-producing part of the field in celebration. Go do something else.

  7. Shouldn’t the NFL also penalize players who smile after scoring a T.D.- after all that could be taunting! Followed by a hefty fine! Seriously, this league is becoming a bad joke.

  8. It would help to see longer posts to identify those close call kicks, but it might be more interesting to cap the elevation. They could also just add a horizontal bar to the top ends and say that in order to make a kick you have to be lower than the top bar and get inside the box. In other skill games like golf you get penalized for hitting a shot too short or too long. In the NFL you get penalized if you punt too short or too long and maybe it should be that way with FG kicks too.

  9. Why not focus on getting better referees to enforce the existing rules that much more impact the integrity and outcome of games? Calls like holding, pass interference, blocks in the back, etc.

  10. Oh thank God!

    How could I ever enjoy a sport such as football when players are going all sorts of crazy and slamming the ball over the goalpost!

    Thankfully the owners and Roger are looking for us and sparing us from this juvenile travesty!


  11. I don’t understand why the NFl would want to take away a Fun part of the game. I remember when Tony G dunked on the goal posts. It is a harmless and Fun way to celebrate TD.

    Maybe they should make sure their Refs make the right calls, and not miss an obvious ILLEGAL FORMATION call on a field goal in a Chiefs/Chargers game.

  12. Graham should’ve been awarded an extra point for improving the aesthetic of that circus tent.

  13. Hey NFL, how’s it going?..
    While you’re at it, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and ban that lame championship belt celebration done by that arrogant QB, nnnk?

    Oh, and I’m gonna need you to also come in on Saturday too. Great, thanks.

  14. Mark Cuban must’ve made a phone call to the NFL claiming that dunking balls belongs to the NBA!!!!

    What’s next no more screaming fans!!?!?!?!

  15. As long as NFL players are allowed to have weapon charges, drug arrests, DUI arrests, knocking your wife unconscious in an elevator arrest and still play I’m ok with them not being able to dunk the ball, because that would be a huge distraction.

  16. That’s it. I quit. I QUIT. I’m done following the NFL. I cannot stand this. Killing the entertainment in an game that people watch for, guess what, entertainment, is just stupid. I like the individuality and celebrations, that’s what reminds that it’s a game in the end.

    Maybe I’ll give Rugby a try.

  17. In today’s technology and advancements in engineering, they can’t build a sturdier goal post??

    Is that the real reason for doing away with the PAT? The kicked ball, especially at that distance, could bring down the goal posts?

    These billionaire owners can afford Jumbotrons that can be seen from space but, they can’t afford better goal posts….even at out-of-work taxpayers’ expense?

  18. Could they have a little tea party in the end zone to celebrate? Is that excessive?

  19. Yes, please ignore widespread knowledge of refs paid by gamblers to influence games through the use of pass interference and holding penalties and focus on this activity. Keep earning your 40 Mil Commish.

  20. After a TD pass, can the quarterback still run to the end zone and congratulate his receiver? Or will that be a delay of game?

    Guess I shouldn’t give the NFL any ideas.

  21. i called this immediately after the graham dunk, he ruined it for everyone by trying to hang on the goal posts.

    honestly it makes sense, they are designed to be hanged and dunked on, and making them eschew by dunking on them effects the integrity of the game

  22. Constantly pestering/annoying the fanbase is one hell of a long-term business strategy, Rog.

  23. Introducing “The Handcuffs”! All players can now score a touchdown and walk (don’t run) off the field with their hands behind their back.

  24. I hope someone completely tears down the post when a they know a game is over. Take the penalty and shove it NFL. I’m tired of stupid penalties they are ruining the game. Mark Cuban is right

  25. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    They’ve been supposed to penalize players for “going to the ground” after a TD and we saw that many many times last year with no flag thrown.

    This is just another call the refs will whip out only when they feel like it.

  26. Mark Cuban just cut his prophecy down to 5 years. Next Newton can’t do his superman and spiking the ball.

  27. If a player wants to dunk a ball, he should play basketball. If fans want to watch someone dunking a ball, they shouldn’t be watching a football game.

  28. Okay, maybe don’t bend the goal posts, but what’s wrong with a player celebrating a great play? IMO banning group celebrations is still one of the most pointless and disappointing rule changes to date…

  29. Next thing your going to read is they are now required to wear a suit and tie to play the game….give me a break The NFL is taking away all the fun from the game. Let them celebrate however they want. The NFL needs to remember who pays their salaries. And they wonder why the attendance at games is going down.

  30. Mark Cuban has some good points, the NFL will crumble under it’s HORRIFIC officiating at times, too many rules for players emotions, watered down rules of engagement, adding more playoff teams, 8-7-1 teams hosting playoff games, 10-6 teams staying home (ARZ), Mon. thru Sun. night games and idiotic notion of teams overseas.

  31. Will somebody please tell me why pretty much every touchdown celebration is now a penalty yet Green Bay is still allowed to pose in front of and then run and jump into the stands after scoring?????

  32. it’s simple. if the dunk causes a delay in the game, give that team a 15 yd penalty. if not, let the player celebrate. no fun league, indeed.

  33. And Goodell continues to tell us that everything the league does is for the safety of the players & what’s in the best interest of the fans. He’s a joke!!! I’m sorry but what fan actually like this? Or losing home games to England? Or the watered down product on the field on Thursday nights?

    As much as I hate how smug & arrogant Goodell is–I still hate the owners more for making him Commissioner.

  34. Left make that the new extra point! A successful dunk is 1 point, and if you get stuffed by a defender then their team gets the point.

  35. Bravo! Great decision by the League!

    Good riddance to another stupid and unnecessary act.

    Stick this up on the defunct shelf…next to the ‘fun bunch’.

  36. really NFL? i watch football for entertainment purposes and that includes all aspects of the game. ya know what? i find hiding a sharpie under the goal post and signing a ball with it quite amusing and entertaining. why do you keep making football more boring by the season?

  37. Maybe he can shadow box with the goal post base, unless using your own shadow is considered a prop?

  38. The fans are getting upset because this is just another pointless, needless rule change. There’s too much concern for the other teams “feelings” (banning taunting and celebrations), too much political correctness (trying to curb swearing. really?), and too much concern for player safety (yeah, I said it). Football is being turned into something very non-footballish and long-time fans don’t like it.

  39. Get over it. Its not the lame no fun league. ITs a league that has to create a ton rules when the village is full of idiots.

  40. soon you will be penalized for scoring a TD

    since when did a bunch of old, bitter, no fun having, unathletic men start running this league?….oh wait.

  41. This is one of the few celebration rules that actually makes sense. Damaging a goal post for no good reason is ridiculous. The rest of the celebration rules however…..

  42. Soccer seems more entertaining than football these days. I hope ratings, attendance at games, satellite subscriptions all plummet. The viewers are what make this league money and I hope at some point, the fans say enough is enough. Maybe the dunk isn’t that entertaining, but the real issue here is how dull Roger Goodell is at a house party.

  43. Goodell will get booed louder than last year, at the upcoming draft. And I didn’t think that was possible.

  44. as soon as the NFL posses the fans off to stop going to games and watching them on tv they will wonder why. well just look how you have made the game now compared to what it used to be.

  45. Mark Cuban was correct, the NFL owners are a bunch of pigs.

    What’s next, ban the first down signal from players after they make a first down catch??

    The NFL is
    Corporate America and Corporate America has better things to do than ban this.

  46. Marvin Lewis said it today, it is all about speeding the game up for TV, TV wants a game to be a certain length and fixing the goal post slowed it down. The ball getting stuck at an NCAA game slowed it down too, but people had fun with it and no one noticed. Now if we really want to talk about something slowing a game down, how about a recent Super Bowl in NOLA?

  47. The Jets just filed for additional clarification over what “post-touchdown” is and how one achieves it.

  48. hey they’ve been trying to come up with the changes to make the extra point more interesting. Award an extra point if the ball carrier can win a one-on-one dunk shot over the posts–take away a point if they hang on the crossbar.

  49. I’m fine with the ban because of the potential of a dunk creating a delay. For those opposed, maybe the players should be allowed to rip out chunks of turf with their bare hands as a form of celebration. Who cares whether there is a delay in the game due to a selfishly over-the-top celebration, right?

  50. 5’5″ Trindon Holliday doesn’t care one way or the other about this ruling.

  51. Maybe the NFL should worry about things the fans worry about and stop playing these petty games.
    No one gives two craps about this type of thing. Let players celebrate already…what’s the problem?

  52. any celebration outside of a high five should negate the ay. get a sack, do the gravedigger= sack negated, 15 yd penalty against the defense. score a td, do a riverdance= td negated, 15 yd penalty against the offense.

    this is not wwe. but if you morons are ok with the caliber people in the nfl earning in a year

  53. When a player spikes the ball in the endzone, isn’t that using the ball as a prop too?

  54. BREAKING NEWS:Players who high five one another will now be given a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and their team will forfeit a draft pick

  55. the timing of it is funny. its almost as if they just sat there and were talking about Tony Gonzalez retiring and then decided it was time to ban the slam dunk TD celebration.

    I am all for stopping any sort of taunting stuff, I can understand the team celebrations being a bit much, but it seems like they just want everyone to be Barry Sanders in how they celebrate. I guess I just don’t know why this one matters so much

  56. The NFL is always full of wisdom that is less than based in common sense.
    Here’s an example:
    the schedule-
    It should be 2 preseason games and 18 regular games…and the rosters should be increased to allow for it. Maybe to 60. MORE JOBS
    Also…the schedule is NEVER really balanced. Tired of all the last place plays last place schedule BS. I want all 16 NFC and AFC Teams to play the following:
    —6 division games
    —12 games against each of the other conference teams- alternating home and away each year. Thus at seasons end… each team had played their division and the other 12 conference foes…too easy huh?
    —2 preseason games with a rival from opposing conference – two weeks apart….

    Super Bowl is only time NFC-AFC play each other period.

  57. The NFL continues its downward spiral with this stupid rule change. The product is getting worse and worse, the ratio of actual game action to insipid video replays, officials discussing the video replays, official timeouts, commercials up the a** is dwindling, you can’t touch the quarterback, you can’t touch the receiver, you can’t celebrate, you can’t blow your nose…..for God’s sake, just ban the sport. Put us out of our misery.

  58. I like it!

    It wont eliminate the dunk from football, but it will scale it back enough to make it cool again. It’s great they wont be assessing fines because those dunks can be great fun in certain instances!

  59. any celebration outside of a high five should negate the ay. get a sack, do the gravedigger= sack negated, 15 yd penalty against the defense. score a td, do a riverdance= td negated, 15 yd penalty against the offense.

    this is not wwe. but if you morons are ok with the caliber people in the nfl earning in a year what you mmake ina lifetime keep thinking that garbage like deion sanders DIDN’T ruint this game with the stupid celebration craze

  60. I would score and give the fans what they want. Then pay old man RGoodell his fine. I would dunk it all 16 times Jimmy! You will be able to afford it and stick it back to Goodell. Do it every time until you make him change it again to a ejection! lol

  61. So this new rule is in place to avoid unnecessary delays in the game? Yeah, these are the same people who don’t mind stupid video replays determining whether the ball is on the 31 or the 32 yard line and endless discussions amongst the officials. What hypocrisy! These take 5 or 10 minutes, sometimes. It took a few minutes to fix a goalpost. That’s an equipment problem, not a player behavior problem.

  62. Actually if the goal post dunk should go so should the Lambeau Leap.The Packers are not so much more important as to have all other celebrations banned except their own.

  63. Maybe they should penalize the Falcons for not having their goal posts installed correctly. Graham’s dunks never bent anybody else’s posts. Leave it up to the second-rate Falcons organization to not even get that one little thing right.

  64. From our annual NFL Fans Meeting we banned: Roger Goodell, the K-ball, we have agreed to move kickoffs back to the 30, we made teams only have 10 minutes in the 1st round in the NFL Draft, helmet to helmet will only be if you launch yourself at a player because the strike zone is too inconclusive at high speeds & changing body angles, team end zone celebrations are now allowed as long as they don’t taunt a player or team, CBS NFL announcers are now under surveillance for being boring, The NFL Today Show must fire everyone. Nicole Zaloumis must wear a skirt & open toe sandals on the NFL Network, she & all ladies on the network must occasionally shoe dip on camera, ESPN must make Suzy Kolber do the same, Frank Caliendo must do play by play for Fox.

  65. Is it even worth commenting when there are soo many ahead of you lol whos gonna see this!!?

    Anyways, I personally love the slam dunk celebration. logic makes sense here but I hope players like jimmy graham do it anyways. or switch to the fade away jumper or finger roll lol!

  66. Again, I dont understand fans being upset about this. It has nothing to do with the game. If it was nt agaonst the rules, and no one ever did it again, would anyone notice?

    Someone mentioned non-athletes making all the rules? Well, back when true athletes played the game, (instead of illiterate
    Fame junkies) there wasnt any need for these rules, because they never had to do all the extra’ look at me!’ stunts in the endzone.

  67. I would love to see guys shoot 25 ft jump shots through the goalpost just out of spite.

  68. 15 yards will also be assessed for any team “high-fiving” after a particularly good play. The league remains up in the air however on whether smiling or laughing at any point in the game will draw a flag….

  69. Hopefully a kicker will kick the ball for a field goal, or better yet an extra point, and hit the post and make the goal posts move slightly and it will take 3 more minutes to move it back. Then Goodell will ban all kicks. If something else happens, he will just remove the ball from he game and they will play with an imaginary one, and the refs will just call the game however they want like they do now. Then they can script the whole game like the WWE does and the popularity of the NFL will sink to the current WWE ratings. Learn from Vince McMahon, when you mess it up too much, it goes down the toilet.

  70. “NFL has a rule against using the ball as a prop, and apparently that’s the rule that will be used to ban dunks. So it’s not a new rule, it’s a new interpretation of an existing rule.”
    If that’s the case, couldn’t anyone who spikes the football also be assessed a 15 yard penalty, or has that already become a penalty too? There are too many new rules to keep up with.

  71. The No Fun League is gonna continue with these dumb rules until people STOP going to the games & owners are losing money at the stadiums. Only at the point will they stop with this BS

  72. I thought that Goodell was PR savvy: he’s ruining the game with micromanagement in a lame attempt to try to distract fans from the crisis in helmet injury liability. Next comes insisting that there are no celebrations in Madden.

  73. When is the NFL going to start penalizing the TV networks for “delay of game” from taking way too many commercial breaks?

  74. Jimmy Graham rule? So does that mean it only applies to him? lol just kidding, but seriously? Is the NFL joking? “Oh you celebrated, let me blow my whistle.” All this is gonna do is piss off the fans. If you suck all the fun out of the game, you might as well give them a green, a cup, a ball, and a few types of clubs.

  75. So I suppose this is in the name of player safety, too. Just in case somebody pulls a Billy Gramatica? I agreed with banning pre-orchestrated stuff, but this is annoying. What’s the difference between that and spiking the ball?

  76. Really? First, lets get rid of all players that have brought a black eye to the sport whether misdemeanor or felony crimes. I don’t care if its a speeding ticket, not paying child support, or DUI. You are suppose to be professional sports players, let’s have some integrity. Second, let’s worry about the plays on the field that actually mean something. Get your fat ass on the field and if need be use the replay. You are paid to watch the game, all eyes of the officials should be on the game. You are paid to be a ref, human error does not count when there is more than one of you in a game and you have the replay. When they go to replay show the fans and the tv crew what you are looking at so we can see if you made the right call or if you are too stupid to be a ref.

  77. Waaaaa. No Fun League. Waaaa God-ell.

    I swear you booger eaters are worse than two year olds.

    Tilting goalposts are a potential hazard. They are quite heavy and are precariously balanced with a few nuts and bolts.

    Waaaa! Rediculous , wear a dress. Waaaa! Mommy I wanna Icee.

  78. They didn’t ban it,just slapped a penalty on it. So if you’re up by 20 with 30 seconds to go,dunk away! Besides you can watch tough guys dance, cheek squeeze,dive into the crowd and gaze into each others eyes face to face after every play! Who needs dunks!

  79. Jimmy Graham doesnt care! He will be so rich this year that he can just hire TO do something craxy on sideline as TD celebration…

  80. Yet, they don’t see the danger in the Lambeau leap. A player is gonna leap up one day, knock some drunks 25 dollar beer out of his hands , and he is gonna stick the player in the back with something and they will never know who did it.

  81. How about this for a novel idea. Reinforce the base of the goal post to prevent it from tilting and allow the dunking to continue.

    NFL continues to reaffirm the fun league. Outside of the one tilt, there were no other instances of it occurring. This is just another knee jerk reaction to an isolated incident.

  82. Not often I agree with Goodell but I applaud this decision. If you want to dunk, go play basketball instead.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.