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No Fun League To Cut Down On Celebration Penalties?

The refs don’t want to throw “excessive celebration” flags anymore.

The priorities of the National Football League include making tons of money, putting a team overseas, and prohibiting happiness through celebration penalties. Likely, the rankings are in that order, with a heavy lean towards number one.

It so happens that something might be done about the third thing, if the NFL referees have a say.

In a recent interview, the top dog in the NFL Referees Association stated that they’d opt against celebration penalties if given the chance. Instead, the officials would prefer to have fines levied after the games when nobody can physically witness the punishment.

Celebration Penalties: The Numbers

According to ESPN, taunting calls were up over 200 percent early in the 2016 season as compared to 2015. Furthermore, calls for unsportsmanlike conduct went up over 50 percent over the year before. We’ve all seen the games where a guy catches a touchdown, does an over-the-top celebration, and gets flagged for 15 yards. Those sorts of fouls have increased.

Does it hurt the fans? No, but it can hurt the teams picking up penalties over something relatively stupid. It’s not like Antonio Brown slugged someone in the jaw when he shook his moneymaker after a touchdown.

As For The NFL’s Real Thinking…

Surely, something this good of an idea won’t make sense to those in a position of power in the NFL. Those with that level of authority made a decision years ago that celebration penalties are needed. Why, because they cut down on quote-unquote unsportsmanlike behavior.

The NFL has an image problem, and more importantly, it thinks it has an image problem. Cutting out the riff-raff by penalizing “excessive celebration” is both unfortunate and an exercise in absurdity. Those referees out there are wondering what is “excessive” and what is a permissible level of jubilation. It’s no wonder they want this taken from their hands: they’re already the bad guys, and this only makes it worse. They’re enforcing a lousy rule and taking the heat for it.

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