The NFL has been criticized for its strict officiating over recent years and has been relabeled as the “No Fun League”. One of a few rule changes that were approved for the 2017-2018 NFL season on Tuesday may have people rethink that nickname. The NFL will now allow players to perform celebrations after scoring touchdowns and will be much more lenient with the excessive celebration penalty. Players can now once again use the ball as a prop, perform celebrations with their teammates, and even make snow angels in the event of a snowstorm. This change will now give players a bit more freedom on the football field and not feel so restricted throughout the course of the game.
The NFL will still penalize celebrations that seem over the top and go on much longer than deemed necessary, but it is still a step in the right direction to making the game of football fun for players and fans once again. Larry Mayer of the Chicago Bears discussed the new rule change and quoted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in his open letter to the fans regarding his approved rule change.
“We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that comes after a spectacular touchdown. And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.”
Goodell has been under a tremendous amount of pressure of recent years because of the concussion epidemic and has done everything in his power to make the NFL a much safer sport. However, many fans of the NFL were opposed to many of his rule changes because he took away most of the physical contact on the defensive side of the ball and had slowed the game down with more unnecessary roughness penalties. Overturning one of his prior rules regarding celebrations not only makes a small aspect of an NFL game more entertaining for fans and players, but the change also gives hope for the future that Goodell might revisit some other rules that people around the NFL disapprove of.
One person who has been completely against this rule change since its approval yesterday morning is Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. Lewis is entering his 16th season as the Bengals head coach and has a record of 113-94-3 and a postseason record of 0-7 in the NFL. Lewis is also the second longest tenured coach in the NFL behind only the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick and is a member of the league’s competition committee, which gives him a platform to speak on this rule change. Katherine Terrell of ESPN wrote about Lewis’s disagreement with the new rule and quoted him throughout the story.
“I’m not for that at all. “We had a good standard, and the whole standard has always been, you want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way, and that’s not a very good example for young people.”
Lewis makes a good point that the standard of the NFL will be changed once this rule takes effect next season. Kids who see their role models celebrating excessively on television will start to think it is okay to do in their peewee leagues. Lewis has also had the agony of dealing with two of the biggest excessive celebrators in the history of the NFL in former receivers Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens. If anyone were to know more about the effects of excessive celebration, it is Marvin Lewis.
Despite whether you are for or against the new rule change, it is difficult to deny that touchdowns will now be a must-watch heading into the 2017-2018 NFL season.
[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]