Referees, in their annual tour of training camps have been reminding players that they’re going to crack down on celebrations, emphasizing the rule that says thou shalt not commit “sack dances; home run swing; incredible hulk; spiking the ball; spinning the ball; throwing or shoving the ball; pointing; pointing the ball; verbal taunting; military salute; standing over an opponent (prolonged and with provocation); or dancing.”
And that has all sorts of bloggers, pundits, fans, and talk-radio hosts in a dither. Of particular concern is the part about spinning the ball, one of the relatively benign, taunt-free celebrations that exists. Although the NFL tells Deadspin that penalties will be given only on plays during drives, not on TD celebrations, guys like Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers are pondering just what to do.
“We’re working it out,” Smith told Charlotte.com.
The NFL further points out that a celebration will be flagged only if “a player does it directly [at an] opponent.” Still, It bears watching to see whether “the slow, vicious creep of conformity” that Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky laments plays out.
In the meantime, just be thankful the guys making the calls aren’t replacement refs.