FanPost

Sleeping with the Enemy: Time for a Rule Change

I never thought I would ever take this side, because the thought of people like Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens makes me sick. I hated "da U" when they were the big show-boaters. I can't stand it when players make a huge fuss over a sack of loud tackle. However, I have decided to make camp with the enemy, because the enemy of my enemy is my friend... or at least for now. Right now, the greater evil is the NCAA Rules Committee and the referees that subjectively interpret the NCAA's rules.

The following is what I found when I search the NCAA rules on celebration:


NCAA Football Rule 9-2, Article 1(a)(1)(d) prohibits "Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves)"; in addition, Rule 9-2, Article 1(a)(2) asserts that "After a score or any other play, the player in possession immediately must return the ball to an official or leave it near the dead-ball spot." [2] Additionally, if a player's actions is considered "unsportsmanlike conduct" the result is dead-ball foul; a "flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct" foul requires player ejection. If a player’s nonfootball-related act (e.g. taunting or cursing) causes an opponent to physically retaliate, it is considered fighting and both players are ejected. [3]

The timing may sound like sour grapes, but I vividly remember about ten years ago when Fred Gibson caught a long TD pass to go up on Tennessee in a pivotal SEC East match up, turning and saying to Kirk Herbstreit, "What is up with the celebration call?! It's a huge game. Let the players play." And he nodded in agreement (I was on the sideline working for a TV station at the time and Herbstreit and the Gameday crew were in town for the game).

Again, today, when UGA scores a late TD to go up on a top 5 team in SEC play, we got hosed again. Now, I didn't see AJ committing the penalty, but a friend and LSU fan working for CNN said on the unedited feed you could see Green later go toward the crowd in the endzone and mouth off, thus getting the flag for celebrating. However, do we really expect a player who just made a potentially game winning catch in a huge game to "immediately must return the ball to an official or leave it near the dead-ball spot" and walk calmly off the field?

Furthermore, I think the celebration penalty called on Charles Scott was complete crap and probably called out of guilt rather than good officiating.

And while The '07 Celebration was fun at the time, it was wrong, just like the V stomp was wrong. I loathe stupid gestures like that, but I am willing to put up with that if it means an end to frivolous calls that strongly influence games.

The subjectivity we face from officials is getting out of hand and we will see more of this garbage affect not only the Dogs, but every team. Therefore, I would like to see the rule changed or done away with. I would propose the following rule:

Excessive celebration penalty of 15 yards will be charged upon any choreographed act including outside objects or unchoreographed act that harms another player or simulates a violent action (such as slashing the throat or shooting a person) by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves). in addition, if a player’s nonfootball-related act causes an opponent to physically retaliate, it is considered fighting and both players are ejected.

So dance around like an idiot, spike the ball, do your stupid Omega sign, moonwalk, wave your hand to your ear a la Hulk Hogan, dial up the LSU fanbase after scoring a TD, whatever! As long as you don't physically hurt an opponent or ref, pull your cellphone out of your sock or act like your are decapitating someone, you are okay. The rule is clear and enforceable and should prevent gray areas getting the best of teams and allow teams to settle it on the field by their play.

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