The NFL has been kiboshing wild and not-so-wild touchdown celebrations for years now. I get it, to a degree. Rightly or wrongly, they believe sponsors might be less likely to invest in a league that possesses WWE-like tendencies. I'm all for cutting down on the brash egos and the over-the-top displays that dominated before Roger Goodell and Co. began taking a stand earlier this decade.
But at some point you're just being autocratic for the sake of being autocratic.
Word emerged this week that officials working training camps in Minnesota and Carolina were warning players that spinning the ball could result in a penalty. That's been in the rulebook for a year now, but it seems ridiculous that it would exist, let alone be enforced.
"Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be further emphasized this season, including any player who throws, spikes or spins the ball after the whistle is blown."
The rulebook actually gives officials the ability to penalize players for "sack dances; home run swing; incredible hulk; spiking the ball; throwing or shoving the ball; pointing; pointing the ball; verbal taunting; military salute; standing over an opponent (prolonged and with provocation); or dancing."
But the fact that they're emphasizing enforcement this year suggests they want to restrict player celebrations more so than they already have. And I think that's taking it a little too far. This is, after all, a game. It's a game being played by grown men who can handle a little provocation. At least they should be able to. If they aren't, that should be on them. We have to stop babying these guys.
Spiking the ball is a football tradition that belongs in the game. A spike gives a player a chance to release some energy and show some emotion after a successful play. And in such a hard-fought sport, that should be his right.
I just can't help but think that the league has its priorities mixed up here.