Tyreek Hill avoided taunting flag with a muted “deuces” on touchdown catch

Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
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The NFL has made taunting a point of emphasis for 2021. It could be called the Tyreek Hill rule, given that it was the often-uncalled instances of the Chiefs receiver baiting opponents with two fingers that caused Bucs defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. to stick the deuces in Hill’s face during the Super Bowl, which may have contributed to the effort to get officials to call the foul more often.

On Sunday, Hill tested the limits of the rule during his 75 yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that cut Cleveland’s margin to two points, 29-27. While running to the end zone, Hill made his trademark gesture and generally flashed his fingers in the direction of Browns safety John Johnson. Hill wasn’t flagged.

Whether he should have been is a different issue. What he was doing was obvious. He muted the gesture, looking around at the officials while doing so, in order to avoid getting caught. It will be interesting to see whether he eventually gets fined; that would essentially become an admission by the league office that he should have been penalized.

Fifteen yards on the ensuing kickoff could have helped the Browns. They otherwise started on their own 25, and a three-and-out effort led to the punting mishap that gave the Chiefs a short field that allowed them to take the lead. At a minimum, the field wouldn’t have been as short for the go-ahead score.

11 responses to “Tyreek Hill avoided taunting flag with a muted “deuces” on touchdown catch

  1. This whole “point of emphasis” about taunting is going to be messy. It started out that way on Thursday. Bucs center Ryan Jensen was jawing with Cowboys lineman Carlos Watkins, when Watkins punched Jensen in the helmet. Flag flies for the personal foul. Jensen then points at Watkins, hooting about Watkins costing his team 15 yards. At that point the second flag flies, with Jensen’s penalty for taunting.

    Umpire Terry Killens and Referee Shawn Hochuli huddle up for a long confab about what the heck they’re going to do now. Hochuli’s mic was hot and you hear Killens, who appears very uncomfortable with the whole situation, saying “let’s just say it’s” before Hochuli turns off his mic.

    So we end up with offsetting penalties, which makes no sense at all. I thought the main idea of the point of emphasis was to step on words that can provoke physical reactions. But in this case, we already had the punch before the taunting call. Shouldn’t discouraging punches take precedence? The officials should have flagged the personal foul and given Jensen a warning. Considering Jensen’s well-known history of trying to provoke the defense, it wouldn’t be long before the officials would have the chance to flag him for taunting. Doing it on that occasion accomplished nothing but making the officials and the new policy look ridiculous. And now we’ll have many cases of players making the exact same gestures they made last year, just changing the direction. I guess making them less in-your-face is preferable, but the whole things just looks silly.

  2. Can the league fine him if it was missed on the field? There is no clarity in when this rule is going to be enforced. This was literally the example that was given when the league said they were going to start enforcing the rule more. Yet there he goes towards the end zone, flashes the deuces, stops at the goaline, appears to be thinking about back flipping into the endzone, doesn’t. No flag.

    Like someone said. This is going to get messy when they are calling it on two players running their mouths, but don’t call it for the specific action that the league used as an example.

  3. he didnt flash it to the player, he held up uo in front of him. Yes you could consider it a taunt but then so is every celebration.

  4. Didn’t happen.

    There was a camera angle that made it look like he flashed it in the direction of the defender, but the end zone camera clearly shows that he wasn’t. He was actually flashing toward the end zone.

  5. All it takes is for one referee to see it a different way, and just hope it isn’t at a crucial time in a crucial game. I’d hate to see a season end because of a taunting flag, but it’s probably going to happen sooner or later. Some guys just seem to learn things the hard way. Coaches better get control of their guys.

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