Looks like you won’t have Steelers receiver Antonio Brown to kick around any longer–or at least his 15-yard penalty-inducing post-touchdown celebrations.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell published an open letter to fans on Tuesday which detailed, among other things, the league’s relaxation on the–at least in my opinion–rather absurd stance on post-touchdown celebrations.
Aside from his post-playoff victory Facebook Live feeds and his complaints about not getting enough passes thrown his way, if there’s one thing that has irked the fans about Antonio Brown in recent years, it’s his penchant for enjoying his touchdowns just a little too much.
Why was this a thing? Because most of Antonio Brown’s touchdown celebrations, such as twerking and making love to the goalposts, drew 15-yard penalties in 2016. And this led to Chris Boswell kicking off from his own 20, which often led to….nothing really.
- But it could have cost his team some valuable field-position, and this is what always bothered the fans so much.
Or did it?
“We know you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown,” said Goodell in his open letter. “And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.”
- In other words, no more No Fun League!……sort of.
Among the celebrations that will now be free of penalty are using the football as a prop, group demonstrations and going to the ground to celebrate.
Why were any of those things ever subject to penalty in the first place?
It’s hard to say. But there are Cardinals fans to this day that insist former Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes should have been penalized in the waning seconds of Super Bowl XLIII for using the football to do his LeBron James “chalk toss” post-touchdown celebration after making one of the greatest catches in NFL history (thanks to a perfectly placed pass from Ben Roethlisberger).
That’s right, there are fans out there who wanted to potentially alter a championship thanks to a benign celebration by the guy who caught the game-winner.
- But going strictly by the book, Super Bowl XLIII could have gone down differently, had the officials on hand called things to the letter of the law.
Thank goodness they didn’t.
However, there was a time, way back in Week 16 of the 2012 season, when an excessive celebration may have cost Pittsburgh a spot in the postseason.
- As I said, going to the ground to celebrate will now be permitted in 2017. Unfortunately for Brett Keisel and the Steelers of five seasons ago, it wasn’t.
In the early moments of Pittsburgh’s crucial tilt with the Bengals at Heinz Field on December 23, 2012 (the Steelers had to win in-order to keep their playoff hopes alive), Brett Keisel recorded a sack on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and proceeded to do his signature bow-and-arrow post-sack celebration.
Sadly, since Brett Keisel went to one knee in-order to perform his celebration, the defense was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, and, instead of punting, Cincinnati was awarded a first down.
In a game that was ultimately decided by three points (the Bengals went ahead, 23-20, on a last-second field goal), this penalty on Brett Keisel could have been more costly than anyone is willing to admit.
- All because The Beard was just trying to enjoy a special moment.
Anyway, back to the “sort of” part I alluded to earlier.
- While the league has loosened its stance on excessive celebrations, ones that are sexually sugestive, such as twerking, will still be subject to penalty.
Why? Beats me, but given that twerking was one of Antonio Brown’s signature celebrations in 2016, the diva-live receiver may not yet be out of the woods.
But at least the NFL is making progress.