The league announced five rule changes on Wednesday that will go into effect for the 2014 season. Not included in the competition committee’s list is an expansion of an existing rule that says players can’t use a prop for celebration. Popular props in recent years included footballs, pylons and even a Sharpie.
Now include the field goal posts.
Dean Blandino, the league’s vice president of officiating, told NFL Network on Tuesday that a new clarification of this rule will penalize dunking on the crossbar – or using it or the posts as a prop – in 2014.
“You can’t dunk,” Blandino said. “Layups, free-throws – that will all be unsportsmanlike conduct.”
As the executive said, the rule will help the league avoid game stoppages; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham’s crossbar-bending dunk delayed a Thursday night game against the Falcons last season while a maintence crew worked to level the askewed bar.
The league’s main objective, however, is achieving a higher degree of humility.
“Overall mutual respect, sportsmanship,” Blandino said. “That is a real priority for us.”
Whether they agree or disagree with the rule’s alteration, players like Davis will have to adapt. Davis adopted the dunk routine as a touchdown celebration – that is, until he was denied by the crossbar at Candlestick Park in Week 1 last season.
As Blandino said, this will also be illegal going forward. Davis took to Twitter and Instagram to lament the loss.
Out of rules and constraint comes creativity. Facing further restrictions next season, Davis and his peers will need to get creative with their after-the-whistle celebrations or risk costing their teams 15 yards.
Help Davis’ creative process by suggesting new celebration ideas in the commenting section below.
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