Move Over Soul Train, the NFL Is Finally Encouraging Players to Celebrate

Sorry, Antonio, but your twerk is still on the no-no list.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on Tuesday morning announcing that the league will be taking a more ‘laxed approached in determining what is deemed an excessive celebration.

Today, we are excited to tell you about another change that comes after conversations with more than 80 current and former players: we are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays.

We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown. And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.

Under the new rules, players will be allowed to: use the ball as a prop after a touchdown, partake in “group demonstrations,” and celebrate on the ground. That means imagining the football as a can of beer, choreographed dances, snow-angels, and so much more are all welcomed.

Goodell continued on in his letter to clarify what kind of celebrations would result in a penalty.

In my conversations with NFL players, it was also clear how much our players care about sportsmanship, clean competition, and setting good examples for young athletes. That is why offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game, and those directed at an opponent, will still be penalized.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today added to the list of no-nos, stating “Prolonged acts, miming weapons, offensive gestures, [and] sexually suggestive stuff [are] still expected to be banned. That includes twerking.” It sounds like that last one is specifically for Antonio Brown.

This is all welcomed news for a league that has been commonly referred to as the “No FunLeague” in recent years. Players will no longer be fined thousands of dollars for celebrating relatively rare athletic achievements, teams won’t be penalized valuable yards for an overly happy player, and fans will be getting a more entertaining product to watch. Sure, there is some grey area, and we’ll certainly see a player tip-toe that line, but at least we’re electric sliding in the right direction, right?

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