NFL defends celebration calls on Vernon Davis, Odell Beckham

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Some of us think the NFL is taking things too far in its crackdown on celebrations after touchdowns, but the league’s head of officiating does not agree.

Dean Blandino said in a video he posted on Twitter that the calls against both Washington tight end Vernon Davis and Giants receiver Odell Beckham on Sunday were correct.

“We got a lot of questions about two plays involving the unsportsmanlike conduct rule,” Blandino said.

Davis pretended the football was a basketball and shot it over the goal post after scoring a touchdown on Sunday, and Blandino said that’s a no-no.

“The ruling on the field here is a touchdown, and then you’ll watch number 85, he’s going to shoot the football over the goalpost, mimicking a basketball action,” Blandino said. “That’s using the ball and the goalpost as a prop. That’s a violation of the rule. You can’t dunk the ball over the goalpost, shoot the ball, finger roll, all of that is illegal, using the football and the goalpost as a prop. Fifteen-yard penalty is enforced on the kickoff.”

Beckham scored a long touchdown and took his helmet off after running out the back of the end zone, which is a penalty as well.

“As part of the celebration he’s going to take his helmet off in the end zone,” Blandino said of Beckham. “That’s a violation of the rule. You cannot take your helmet off as part of a celebration, a demonstration, or as part of a confrontation with an opponent or a game official. You see he goes to the sideline, says something to the game officials, that would be unsportsmanlike conduct as well — we’ll only enforce one foul.”

Blandino’s officials correctly enforced the rules, but the big question is why NFL rules are so stringent about cracking down on celebrations. A 15-yard penalty is awfully harsh for having a little fun.

101 responses to “NFL defends celebration calls on Vernon Davis, Odell Beckham

  1. I don’t care for the celebrations but these calls are making the refs, the league, and the game look dumb. The NFL is so corporate now it is disgusting.

  2. What is the purpose of these penalties? Who do they help? They don’t make any sense, and on top of that they’re called very inconsistently. Blandino is an idiot. What a sham NFL officiating has become…

  3. If 15 yards are too harsh then don’t violate the rule. As far as rules logic goes, a rule that people violate regardless of the punishment means the rule isn’t harsh enough.

  4. Beckham is a self indulgent child, even Hawks fans know you can’t take the helmet off. There’s no excuse for it and it could have seriously cost the Giants. That kid needs a spanking, not another hug and a cookie

  5. they should just call it the No Fun League
    Which is fine until it becomes the No Fan League which seems to be the direction they are pushing for.

  6. “As part of the celebration he’s going to take his helmet off in the end zone,” Blandino said of Beckham.
    Well, that’s the thing really. Beckham was actually outside the end zone when he took his helmet off. There are videos available for everyone to see. Blandino lies again.

  7. The NFL is so corporate now it is disgusting.
    America is so corporate now that it is disgusting.
    The United Corporations of America.

  8. I just don’t get why the Vernon Davis basket shot is a penalty and the Gronk spike isn’t. Both use the ball and toss it. Doesn’t make sense.

  9. Beckhams idiotic “look at me” celebrations are going to cost the giants a victory eventually. Of course he won’t care one bit..

  10. .
    um the call on Odell Beckham was NOT correct.
    he was not on the field.

    Better go to the replay cameras bra

  11. I admit I can don’t like girations and grabbing of body parts but this is getting silly. Maybe the guy dunked the ballmover the goal post because he could ? I am pretty sure NFL players do not wake up thinking “. Hey, I am going to act like an NBA player today “

  12. Isn’t spiking the ball using the ball as a prop? Why is that allowed?

    Consistency, people!!!! If you are going to have stupid rules, at least be consistent with them.

  13. Spiking the ball is illegal under this fool’s interpretation because you are using the ball and the ground as a prop. Look no further than Goodell and Blandino for the demise of the NFL.

  14. The helmet rule has been in effect since the 90’s. It was once called the Emmitt Smith rule. Anyone who violates that rule is just dumb for not knowing the rules…or is a selfish player who doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

  15. Beckhams idiotic “look at me” celebrations are going to cost the Giants a victory eventually. Of course he won’t care one bit. What an ego-maniac…

  16. The refs poor performance at penalty calling (or not calling) for calls that actually affect the game is a lot more detrimental to the game than a good fun celebration or two.

    Surprise, the NFL is looking to fix the wrong things.

  17. A 15-yard penalty is awfully harsh for having a little fun.

    insisting on having a little fun is awfully stupid for a 15 yard penalty.

  18. The rule that penalizes a player for taking his helmet off has been around for years. Not sure why the OBJ penalty is event being discussed in this topic. I love OBJ, but that’s been the rule before he even came into the league.

  19. OBJ is an idiot. He cries that football isn’t fun when it doesn’t go his way and the media is all over him. Then he has a big game and he’s begging for attention after every play. What do you expect dummy.

  20. The spiking of the football is a time honored tradition that the NFL explicitly exempts from the football prop rule. Any other action with football other then just carrying it, spiking/dropping it, or handing it to ref is a penalty.

    Taking your helmet off was put in place after everyone started taking their helmets off to celebrate a TD back in the 90s. I think it was informally called the Emmit Smith Rule.

  21. I’m fine with the rules on this. How did we ever survive the 70’s when football really started to grow. Spiking puts your exclamation point on your touchdown, doesn’t it? A pat on the back is fine for a sack of a quarterback. No need for all the gyros (non sandwich type) and I’m the greatest dancer. These guys make a lot of money can’t they just act happy without all the self gratification 40,000 people look at me stuff? After all they have their name on their jersey. Cure cancer or something as great, this is just a game. If you don’t have these rules, holy cow, this would be a MTV beach party with Tone Loc soundtrack. One last thing, stay off my lawn! Even though I live on the third floor.

  22. You want to celebrate? Wait ’til the final gun goes off, meet your crew at mid-field and go nuts. Or take them out for some brews. You’re paid to score or block or complete passes. That’s your job. You’re not doing anything worth celebrating unless you win.
    I was a Programmer/Analyst. I didn’t do some stupid stuff after every successful compile of a program or when I got it debugged.
    Most of these guys are college graduates, allegedly, and between 23-33. Act like a grown-a** man and do your job instead of acting like a fool.

  23. Just say “No” to stupid NFL calls. Ever notice how the longer an institution, or a business for that matter, becomes more of a bureaucracy? Well, it has happened to the NFL. The NFL needs to take a step back and eliminate the nonsensical stuff in the rule book. Its getting out of hand.

  24. I say refs should be penalized. Like the missed most obvious call when Sherman held the right arm of Julio Jones. It should be 10’smacks on the back of the head of all officials involved in the game. This is the only sport on the planet where officials have complete and uncontested control of a game. And they wonder why networks are losing billions of $$$$ in viewership. Call me crazy but it’s the beginning of the end for the billionaire boys club folks

  25. ncfloyd says:
    Oct 17, 2016 1:45 PM
    If 15 yards are too harsh then don’t violate the rule. As far as rules logic goes, a rule that people violate regardless of the punishment means the rule isn’t harsh enough.

    You can give the death penalty for petty theft, people are still going to steal.

    And why not look at if the rule makes sense vs whether the punishment for breaking the rule is harsh enough? Speaking of which – do you equate a head to head hit as the same level of offense as a 3 second dance or “shooting” the football over the goal post? It’s ridiculous.

  26. The players know the rules and should follow them, even if they are dumb, because it hurts the team to get a 15 yard penalty.
    It could have cost OBJs team a loss.

    I dislike the direction the NFL has taken in recent years, but you still need to follow the rules, which aren’t really that hard to obey.

  27. Do all you men actually get great enjoyment at watching other men dance and celebrate? Eliminating it actually takes the fun away from the game for you? If I want to see dancing at a football game I prefer to watch the cheerleaders.

  28. Yet they encourage and televise people disrespecting the flag, the very definition of unsportsmanlike conduct. This league is unrecognizable.

  29. Blandino, you shill, no one is saying that the rules were interpreted poorly (that is reserved for the rules that impact the actual play of the game, but another complaint for another comment). We are saying that you have written completely asinine rules. Thanks for reading them aloud to confirm that suspicion.

  30. The ball isn’t being used as a prop of any kind when it’s being spiked. When you’re miming a basketball shot, you are not only using the football to portray a basketball, you are using the goal posts as a prop to portray the basket. Pretty simple really.

    The argument on Beckham being out of the field of play is little more than legal technicality. You can take it to court if you want, but the most you’ll end up doing is getting the rule changed to include “have just stepped out of the end zone”. Good luck with that.

    Everyone has their description of what should be allowed. That’s why virtually nothing is allowed. The Lambeau Leap was grandfathered. Even spiking the ball comes with riders (the ball had better not touch a ref or opponent). The point is, when you act like children, you can’t have nice things.

  31. It seems like a guy could score and throw the ball into the stands without getting a penalty (he might still get fined), but if he jump-shoots the ball into the stands, then he will get penalized and fined. If that’s the way it’d be enforced, it doesn’t make any sense.

    Also, saying this as a Packer fan, it’s not right that the Packers can do the Lambeau Leap while these other things are outlawed, but apparently the NFL feels that as long as MM is the coach this won’t be much of an issue anyway.

  32. If they want to make the rule like the college one–no celebration at all, I’m fine with that. However, they aren’t consistent, so the way they are calling now looks stupid and arbitrary.

  33. The league officials are in for one hell of a shocker when the elections are over and their ratings are still in the tank.

    The reason people are tuning into the debates over the NFL is because the debates are more hard hitting and less political than the NFL.

  34. Once a touchdown is signaled give them 10 seconds to do what ever they want. Anything after 10 seconds=15 yards penalty.

  35. I don’t watch football to see grown men dance in the end zone or do their choreographed celebrations. Why is that so entertaining to people? Drop the ball or hand it to the ref and go celebrate with your team mates – you know, the people that helped you GET the touchdown!!

  36. Anybody with any questions about using the goalposts should recall Jimmy Graham’s constantly using the goalposts to “slam dunk” the football.

  37. “The ball isn’t being used as a prop of any kind when it’s being spiked”

    Really? Try spiking the ball with the ball (i.e. the prop).

  38. Per Blandino and Ted Wells:

    What we say is law regardless if it is correct or truthful. We remind you, no one else’s opinion matters regardless if the facts point to we are wrong.

  39. I have this image of a dallas cowboy linebacker intercepting a pass, taking the ball 75 yards for a touchdown, then, in one fluid motion, dunking the football over the cross-bar. I remember being awe-struck by the athleticism, part of my earliest memories of why this game is so great.

    Do current players celebrate too much — yes. But how many of the great celebrations would be untenable today? The Ickey Shuffle; TO on the Star; 85 autographing the ball (illegal then too); Ferrotte running his head into the metal post….

  40. The NFL is full of bull. The reason they listed above for the flag on OBJ was he took his helmet off while celebrating, regardless if he did so in the field of play. They confirmed he was out of the end zone when he removed his helmet. So every player the scores a touchdown and goes over slaps the hand of their coach and takes off their helmet out of bounds, ie sideline, is now in violation and subject to a penalty.

  41. Bipolar football fans. One week people complain about players doing stupid celebrations, the next week people complain stupid celebration flags are ruining the game…

  42. Its about money and Branding. Why not hand out six-figure fines to the individual player? If he really wants to build his personal Brand, then let him pay for it. Don’t penalize the team.

  43. The NFL is only for free speech if it’s extremely controversial, anti American, politics rhetoric. You won’t get penalized for anything like that, but don’t celebrate a touchdown too much, because that makes the league look bad. Mark my words, this hypocritical way of penalizing players will cost the NFL millions of real fans.

  44. So if there are no penalties for “celebrating” then prepare for every TD being a OBJ & net deal….no thanks.

  45. So the NFL fines players for deviating from NFL protocol by celebrating…but no fines or admonishment for “social protest”. This is why the NFL is suffering the biggest decline in its viewing audience since the inception of the nationwide television contract.

    No eye black protests, no sweat band narratives, no cleat themes, no wrist band write ups, no variation on uniforms…but sitting for the National Anthem, kneeling when your country’s song is played, or thrusting a fist in the air during a solemn tribute to your country…that OK.


  46. I don’t think Vernon Davis should have been flagged. That was no big deal. Beckham’s was completely over the top. I used to hate it when Emmitt Smith took his helmet off after scoring. We know what you look like, so leave the helmet on. Beckham’s shenanigans with the kicking net are getting old,too.

  47. 6250claimer says:
    Oct 17, 2016 1:36 PM
    Vernon Davis is still in the league? Who knew?
    Apparently not the Eagles Defensive Coaches. Cause they didnt have a plan.


  48. I think the call against Beckham was correct, and I think it should’ve immediately been assessed on the very next play….the extra point. Make it hurt if you’re going to call it.

  49. Hmm, let me get this straight… Blandino couldn’t explain calls for the TV viewers, he is still head of officiating. Now, let’s ask ourselves who makes the rules.. Middle and Older White Guys. Who plays in the league.. young, African-American Males (yes, there are white guys, but is penalized more?) Seems as if good ol’ boy Roger has an age old problem that seems to be ignored.

  50. You all are funny.

    Before the last few years everyone would talk trash about players being ‘extra’ after a TD. Many used to always bring up Barry Sanders and how they thought it was so awesome that he would just hand the ball to the ref.

    Now that that is what the league wants, everyone wants to complain again because apparently they won’t enjoy the games unless they get to see grown men gyrate, grab crotches, twerk like girls, dance, act like kids, etc. You say the league is no fun without these things. Make up your mind.

    But as soon as another idiot gets extra extra and does a Jimmy Graham, causing a delay in the game to fix a goal post after dunking the ball, you’ll be back to calling players idiots for not just handing the ball to the refs.

    Blame Jimmy. The no football as a prop rule is because of him.

  51. I think the call against Beckham was correct, and I think it should’ve immediately been assessed on the very next play….the extra point. Make it hurt if you’re going to call it.

    That really wouldn’t hurt the Giants that much. What would that mean – perhaps a 10% decrease in the chance of scoring one point? 15 yards is usually more valuable than 0.1 point.

  52. Whether the rulings were correct or not, the rules are silly. The rule against props was an over-panicky reaction to players like TO and Ochocinco, and the ban on taking off one’s helmet is a positively fascist reaction to Emmitt Smith’s habit.

    Who is hurt if a player takes off his helmet? Stupid, stupid rule. God forbid that the fans should get to see the faces of the players.

  53. Blame Jimmy. The no football as a prop rule is because of him.

    Wouldn’t a “delay of game” penalty sufficed?

  54. Bipolar football fans. One week people complain about players doing stupid celebrations, the next week people complain stupid celebration flags are ruining the game…

    ^^^Person unfamiliar with the concept of “middle ground”.

  55. Some PFT commenters are so easily annoyed. “Oh my goodness, I just can’t stand these players celebrations”. “I just can’t stand a guy celebrating a tackle in the middle of the 3rd quarter “.

    Wow! These are things are really something to get bent out of shape about. A few seconds of a player’s behavior is going to ruin your enjoyment of the game?

  56. One of the things on the list that they want to stop is the sexually suggested dances. Yet every other commercial is about Erectile Dysfunction. I’m not a prude by any means, but come on NFL.

  57. I’m really getting a kick out of all you “if you like watching grown men dance, you are stupid” commenters. If you are so miserable that you don’t want anyone else having fun, go lock yourself in a monastery somewhere so the rest of us can enjoy our lives.

    As for the celebrations themselves… I have come to the conclusion that as fans, we like the celebrations of our favorite players and hate the ones of players we don’t like. I hate everything about the Saints, so I hated Joe Horn’s cellphone bit. I enjoyed Chad Johnson, so I had no issues with his antics. I hated TO’s celebrations because I was convinced that TO thought the only reason the NFL existed was because of him. Still hate the guy. And I think the same of OBJ.

    And I can’t get enough of celebrations by Cam Newton, because he played for my favorite college team and now plays for my favorite NFL team. And I think most of the hatred people feel for him has nothing to do with his celebrations, but because they are all in on the theory that he got paid to play at Auburn (even though the NCAA could find no evidence of that), and therefore he is the very definition of evil.

    I think MDS was on to something in his earlier post on this – give the guy who scores a set amount of time, and if he exceeds that, give his team a delay of game. If anyone causes structural damage that delays the game (dunk the ball and break the goal post, end zone dance that creates divots in the end zone, etc.), then that’s a 15-yard penalty.

    And for us as fans, let’s try to be more cognizant of what is really the source of how we feel about the celebrations.

  58. Fans watch football to be entertained. When somebody scores let them have their moment of glory. What the NFL fails to realize is the fans are not watching to see the zebra’s throw yellow flags.

  59. Guy spears another player in the helmet knocking him out of the game, 15 yard penalty.

    Guy gently tosses a ball over the cross bar, 15 yard penalty.

    Seems logical to me.

  60. NFL<NHL…..we have nonstop action for a full 60 minutes,hard hits without flags,celebrations that are awesome and only 3 commercial breaks during each period:)

  61. THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Hey Dean Blandino why don’t deal with the continuing incompetents non- calls against Seahawks each year in Seattle? Those missed calls steal wins from visiting teams each year such as Falcons, Lions last year, Packers two years ago etc. You allow these incompetent refs to come back again and again!

  62. factschecker says:
    Oct 17, 2016 1:47 PM
    The NFL is so corporate now it is disgusting.
    America is so corporate now that it is disgusting.
    The United Corporations of America

    Corporations are people too. Just ask the SCOTUS.

  63. As long as a celebration isn’t too time-consuming, mocking an opponent, or sexual in nature, I don’t see what the problem is. The NFL is taking entertainment out of the game too much. We already have to deal with too many commercials.

  64. Giants fans are hilarious – obviously shocked that Roger Goodell didn’t tell the refs to look the other way to help John Mara!

    They like to cite the rule about “on the field of play” about helmets.

    That has nothing to do with the “excessive celebration” penalty – which applies everywhere – not just on the active field – duh – everyone knows this

    But if Giants fans persist then I hope Beckham does that every – single – time – as he’ll pick up a 15 yard penalty – every – single – time

    And Beckham won’t care even if it costs the Giants a game

    We’ll see if Giants fans are still defending him then

  65. What I do not understand is a player can disrespect the flag and the country during the national anthem (BTW I am French from France), but one cannot celebrate after a touchdown, it makes no sense at all. No Fun League

  66. Ridiculous penalty against Beckham. He was out of the frigging end zone, unsnapped the helmet, and was running to the sideline itself as he was pulling it off.

    Some stuff needs to be called. Other things are just petty nonsense, and this is one of them.

    Roger Goodell plants a fresh stick up his butt every night, just to keep his stupid on at max.

  67. Players need to wear their helmets during post game interviews, just to make sure their team doesn’t get penalized……

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