The NFL made numerous rulebook changes on Tuesday, among them, relaxing the rules for touchdown celebrations.
In a candid letter to fans, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained how and why touchdown celebrations will be changing for the 2017 NFL season. From Goodell:
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.
Approved celebrations now including celebrating on the ground (ie: making snow angels):
using the football as a prop:
and group demonstrations.
However, any celebrations that contain offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are prolonged, those that delay the game, as well as celebrations directed at an opponent will still be penalized.
Don’t count Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis among those happy about this rule change. Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens and Jeremy Hill all have been known for their celebrations, and all have been coached by Lewis. With that experience, the Bengals’ head coach believes the former rule was in place for a reason and isn’t a fan of this change.
“I’m not for that at all,” Lewis, who is on the NFL Competition Committee, told ESPN’s Katherine Terrell. “We had a good standard, and the whole standard has always been, you want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way, and that’s not a very good example for young people.”
The NFL spoke with more than 80 current and former players to make this decision, so while Lewis may not be for the change, many others in the league are.
“The rules were changed for a reason, and I thought we had a good outcome,” Lewis said of the rules originally being put in place to ban celebrations. “Again, this is a team game, and ... I don’t understand why we want to give in to individual celebrations.”
Goodell was informed of Lewis’ comments and had quite the interesting response, clearly supporting the movement for change and allowing celebrations.
“I think the players will prove him wrong on that,” Goodell said.