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Top Five End Zone Celebrations

Wednesday, September 8, 2004; Page H04

1. The Funky Chicken: Billy "White Shoes" Johnson

Often imitated but never duplicated, the wide receiver for the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons set the standard for end zone celebrations with the Funky Chicken. Who can forget the sight of Johnson scissor kicking and rolling the ball up his arms and down his neck?

_____ NFL '04 _____
 catch
With what may be the most talented group of receivers the NFL has ever seen, look for the game to be more wide open than ever this season.
Officials will put teeth in a rule prohibiting a defender from impeding a receiver more than five yards downfield.
How the rule is to be interpreted.
Darrell Green knows a thing or two about receivers and shares his all-time top five.
Receivers should get a big boost from the rule modification.
Don't call it the T.O. rule or the Joe Horn rule, but expect a crackdown on TD celebrations.
A WR's tools of the trade
Top 5 end zone celebrations
The NFL's top 10 storylines of '04
News Graphic: The evolution of the modern day wide receiver (PDF)

_____The Redskins_____
 Gibbs
Joe Gibbs returns to the sideline knowing a modification of the ruled will have a major impact on his approach to the passing game.
Gregg Williams oversees a defense that has been revamped since finishing 25th among the league's 32 teams last season.
The Eagles appear to be the class of the NFC East, which may be on the way back after having fallen on lean times the past eight years.
Offensive depth chart
Defensive depth chart

_____The Ravens_____
While not flashy, wide receiver Kevin Johnson could be the key to opening up Baltimore's offense.

_____Team Previews_____
In predicted order of finish

NFC East
Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins
New York Giants

NFC South
New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons

NFC North
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions

NFC West
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals

AFC East
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns

AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers


2. The Lambeau Leap: Green Bay Packers

Safety LeRoy Butler was the first Packer credited with jumping into the stands at Lambeau Field in 1993, but wide receiver Robert Brooks turned it into a staple the next season, and soon many teammates took the plunge as well.

3. The Fun Bunch: Washington Redskins

Football fans shook RFK Stadium when Redskins players, led by the wide receivers, gathered in the end zone after a touchdown for a group high-five. Sometimes the stray Cowboys player (such as Everson Walls) tried to intervene, and eventually the league issued a rule in 1984 that was intended to limit extravagant end zone celebrations.

4. The California Quake: Butch Johnson

After scoring, the former Cowboys wide receiver would pretend his hands were six-shooters, fire away, blow the smoke from his fingertips and place his hands back at his sides as if to reholster. The league eventually forced Johnson to retire his Wild West antics.

5. The First End Zone Dance: Elmo Wright

Terrell Owens, Joe Horn and Chad Johnson should be thanking the former Chiefs wide receiver, who on Nov. 18, 1973, caught a touchdown pass from Len Dawson, then began running in place and churning his arms before spiking the ball.

Honorable Mention: Ex-Giants wide receiver Homer Jones, who is credited with the first post-touchdown spike.

-- Gene Wang


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