Celebrating is Part of the Game

January 3, 2012
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“If you do all that, and you finally get into the end zone—is that not worth a celebration? F*** yes it is,” said Elmo Wright, the man who is credited with football’s first touchdown dance. The author, Tommy Craggs, thought of Wright while watching DeSean Jackson taunt an opposing coach after a big play. Jackson’s actions earned the Eagles a 15 yard penalty which was neutralized by a Giant’s player’s illegal use of the hands penalty. Craggs wonders if the actual play between the snap and whistle possesses any more value than the NFL’s image these days. Does Jackson have a right to be mad at the canceled on-field penalty or does his comedy actions match up?

Craggs stated, “With the Eagles pinned near their own end zone, Jackson caught a 50-yard heave from Vince Young and then got shoved out of bounds along the New York sideline, whereupon he flipped the ball to a Giants assistant and brushed some invisible dirt off his chest.” A 15 yard penalty for that? Are you kidding? This is a joke. You have to respect the NFL for keeping class alive, but to a point celebrating is part of the game and natural competitive behavior.
The odds were against the Eagles in this play and they performed a miraculous completion. The amount of adrenaline and excitement shown by DeSean Jackson is expected. These plays are what players like him live for; Wright would agree and can relate to Jackson. The Eagles could have been 35 yards further down field if the penalties did not offset. Jackson’s celebration was a dead-ball, meaningless gesture, while the Giant’s tackle’s penalty is illegal for a reason and actually affected play. How about we remember what’s important here…the game itself!

There is definitely need for penalties against excessive celebration, but let’s not cry over spilled milk. There may be tension between opposing teams. And there may be some background between a safety and a wide receiver. But trust me, this drives their motivation. The usual celebration is fueled from pride in accomplishment and should be left alone with the exception of inappropriate actions. Besides more television viewers, celebrations add character and life to something as simple as a game.

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