Are Excessive Touchdown Celebrations Ruining Football?

Touchdown article image

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On the field of play, nothing touches the exuberance of scoring a touchdown — to face off against a wall of hulking figures who will do anything in their power to stop you, only to maneuver around them and into the end zone for those sweet, sweet points.

During a touchdown run, the million dollar salaries don’t matter. The screaming fans take a back seat and luck or chance does not figure into the display. It is all about athletic ability and focus. It is one man’s will against several opposing furies.

In the face of such extreme competition, the instinctual desire to celebrate is universally comprehensible. However, these expressions have morphed into the stuff of hot debate and heavy fines.

Starting with the very first “spike” in 1965, touchdown dances were a way for players to not only celebrate their achievement but also to rub the noses of their opponents (and their fans) in an amazing play. Soon what began as a simple move evolved, turning into dances, pantomimes, and choreographed stunts between multiple players. And naturally, as the celebrations became more complicated, they would move out of the end zone and onto the front page of the papers and the lead story on sports networks.

Is it fair to call anything in a world rife with stress and strain “excessive celebration”? Professional sports exist to give viewers a forum for relaxation. Since 1984 the competition committee, a consortium of 8 NFL members changed the rule books, citing excessive celebration as unsportsmanlike behavior. However, many fans disagree with this ruling.

Though highly criticized, defenders say the regulation is meant to constrain the styles of touchdown celebrations, but not the spirit behind them.

The debate and the dance continue. What do you think?