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Celebration Penalties in Football. Good or Bad?

A new rule in college football this year will deduct points if, in the opinion of the referee, a player taunts another player as they’re heading towards the endzone. Last week, a high school football player was penalized for pointing up towards the heavens in a salute to his deceased friend after scoring what appeared to be the game winning touchdown. Good grief.


A Louisville Kentucky High School player was flagged for celebration simply for pointing towards the sky in a tribute to his friend who had died in a car wreck the week before.

Personally, I think the rules against celebration are silly. I have no problem with refs flagging a player for getting in another players face or intentionally taunting in such a manner, but it’s a game  played by college aged kids and there are emotions involved. If you make a big scoring play, you should be able to point a finger to the sky or salute fans in the stand. I have no problem with players high stepping into the endzone or players piling on after a game winning TD is scored (so long as they’re lined up and ready for the extra point try within the allotted time, WHO CARES!??!!).

It’s like the refs use NO common sense when enforcing these rules. The fans love it, the players are excited and having fun. What’s the problem? Oh yeah, we wouldn’t want to hurt the other teams feelings now would we? Might as well just stop keeping score if that’s our concern.

The good news is, most conferences have made it clear they are emphasizing to their officials to use common sense and keep the flags in their pockets if they have ANY doubt about whether a celebration was a player taunting or simply spontaneous enthusiasm. I think I’ll believe they’re really using common sense when we’ve gone half a season without at least a handful of silly celebration penalties.

What are your thoughts?

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