NFL Considers Negating Touchdowns For Players Who Taunt

The NFL could soon negate touchdowns for players who are flagged for taunting, an issue that the league’s competition committee will consider in the offseason.

The committee will reportedly look at whether players who taunt an opponent prior to crossing the goal line should have a penalty that not only pushes back their team but also negates the touchdown. The NCAA has already instituted such a rule.

The issue came to light this weekend after Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate waved the ball at St. Louis Rams safety Rodney McLeod when he was on the 25-yard-line, running to what would be an 80-yard touchdown.

Dean Blandino, the NFL’s head of officiating, said the league will strongly consider negating touchdowns in such cases and penalizing the offending team 15 yards from the spot of the foul.

“A lot of people felt that the touchdown shouldn’t have counted [but] a taunting foul is always treated as a dead-ball foul, meaning whatever happened during the play counts, and the foul is enforced on the next play, which would be the kickoff,” Blandino said. “In college, this action would take back the touchdown. Tate started taunting at the 25-yard line. The college rule, that’s enforced at the spot of the foul, so they’d go from a touchdown to first-and-10 at the 40, which would be a gigantic penalty. The NFL rule, it’s a dead-ball foul, it’s enforced on the kickoff. But I’m sure that’s something that the Competition Committee will look at in the offseason.”

The league has been getting harder on unsportsmanlike conduct recently, including instituting penalties for players who spin the football at an opponent’s feet.

Earlier this year officials cracked down on profanity in the wake of a heated game between the Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. Referees continually warned players in the game to cut out the cuss words, and Seattle’s K.J. Wright was even flagged for mouthing a swear word at a Panthers player.

If the NFL does decide to negate touchdowns for taunting penalties, the change would not come until after the 2013 season.

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