Celebrations Over the Top for Some NFL Opponents

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison, Wikipedia

A recent cause for controversy in the NFL has been the amount of excessive celebrations performed on the field by players.

At the center of all this has been Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who has been especially creative with his end zone celebrations, the most notable being the “dab” dance, which has also been taken on by several players throughout the NFL.

Even players in the NBA, as well as college football and college basketball, have been known for their celebrations, and even adopting their own form of the “dab,” but it seems like no one has gotten as much heat as Newton.

For example, New York Giants wide receiver made the “whip” a household dance move. Many players celebrated with the “Gangnam Style” dance back in 2012, and on Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce decided to “Hit the Quan” after scoring a touchdown.

These end zone theatrics have caused a stir among players, coaches and analysts who say the practice goes against unwritten rules of sportsmanship. 

Mike Mularkey, head coach of the Tennessee Titans, defended the actions of one of his players who got into Newton’s face mid-celebration – perhaps in an effort to get him to tone it down.

“I know Avery [Williamson] was frustrated by it, but I think there was a whole lot of people frustrated by it,” Mularkey said, per the Tennessean. “It’s a little rubbing-it-in-your-face type of deal, which there’s a little code of ethics in the NFL. (It’s) not a good move.” 

However, many are backing Newton, saying that he is simply just having fun out on the field.

This simple aspect can be important for enticing future generations to become fans of the NFL, which has been labeled the “No Fun League” by fans for previous actions taken against certain celebrations such as dunking the football between the goal posts. 

With already rigid celebration rules and negative attitudes surrounding certain celebrations, younger generations may actually view the NFL as a league where there is no fun to be had while playing the game. 

Washington Redskins defensive tackle Terrance Knighton believes that these types of celebrations are good for the sport, saying that they are “good for the kids,” per ESPN. 

“The kids get to see their role models having fun and playing a game we love; so, shoot, if [Newton] scores a touchdown, he can do whatever he does,” he said.

As for Newton, his response was simple:

“I’m a firm believer if you don’t like it, keep me out (of the end zone),” he said. 

Celebrations have been a part of the NFL for decades, featuring celebrations such as the “Dirty Bird” which was a favorite of a few Atlanta Falcons players during the 90s and the famous “Ickey Shuffle” started by Elbert “Ickey” Woods. 

Just like Woods, the quarterback from the Panthers has his signature “Super Cam” celebration, where he simulates revealing the Superman “S” under his jersey. 

Whether old or new, these celebrations have been part of football and will continue to be part of football unless there are stricter actions taken against the end zone antics. 

If such action is taken, football purists may be satisfied – but at the expense of younger generations, who may see it as a move taking the excitement out of a game that is supposed to be enjoyable for those watching as well as playing it.