NFL still stands for No Fun League

By Jeffery Armstrong

The National Football League held its annual spring meeting last month and this time, their focus was on cracking down against end-zone celebrations. The league plans to add a 15-yard penalty (I assume on the ensuing kickoff) to the team whose player pulls any outrageous touchdown celebrations like Terrell Owens grabbing a Sharpie out of his sock to sign a football and Joe Horn pulling a cell phone out of the goal post. The 15-yarder will also go against the team who has a group of players do something in the end zone, like when the Atlanta Falcons players used to "pass the magic." This 15-yard penalty will be in addition to fines already in place for over-the-top celebrations.

The good thing about this rule is that spiking the ball, dunking the football over the goal posts and leaping into the fans in the end zone seats is still allowed.

I'm not crazy about this new rule enforcement, but one national newspaper columnist agreed with the NFL, saying the penalty should be 25 yards instead of 15. Now that's ridiculous. 15 yards is enough n the league over penalizes players as it is. The NFL is the greatest pro league in sports, but it has way too many ticky-tack rules and regulations. That's why it's been called the "No Fun League" at times.

I don't like the idea of fining these guys or giving penalty yards for end zone antics. If they taunt the opponent they scored on, then fine them. I understand the theory that players should act like they've scored before, but I like to see a player have fun on the field without the threat of penalties.

Speaking of fun on the field, I've fashioned a top-five list of the best end zone celebrations I've ever seen, starting from fifth to first.

n 5. The Mile High Salute: Terrell Davis of the Denver Broncos did this with his offensive teammates after they would score TDs. They would salute each other like soldiers one-by-one; it was pretty cool.

n 4. David Hill's shake dance: David Hill was a tight end with the Detroit Lions back in the day and he would do a funny dance before spiking the ball.

n 3. The Sprinkler: This movement is done by some players today. After a player scores a touchdown, he puts one hand behind his head and the other hand forward and moves around clockwise like a lawn sprinkler. Very clever.

n 2. The Ickey Shuffle: Ickey Woods was a halfback for the Cincinnati Bengals years ago. After scoring a TD, he would take a few steps to the left, then a few steps to the right, spike the ball and dance.

n 1. Billy "White Shoes" Johnson: The best all-time TD celebration ever. I used to love watching the Houston Oilers play just hoping he would score a TD. White Shoes would raise his arms, wiggle his legs and if he was really feeling it, he'd do the splits afterwards. He started the whole celebration concept.

A footnote: the best non-end zone dance ever was former N.Y. Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau's "Sack Dance," which happened after he sacked a quarterback.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.