Penalties reinforce 'No Fun League' image
Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Redskins tight end Vernon Davis were among the players who learned Sunday that a little celebrating after scoring a touchdown can cost your team a penalty.
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis drew after a TD for shooting the football at the goalpost like a basketball at a rim is precisely why people joke that “NFL” stands for “No Fun League.”
Turned out to be a truly consequential flag, too: The 15 yards were assessed on the kickoff, so the ball was booted from Washington’s 20 instead of the 35, and the opponent turned that into a TD return.
“You’re not taunting. I don’t think that’s taunting,” Davis said after Washington beat the fading Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 Sunday for its fourth consecutive victory. “You’re just celebrating, right?” Would seem so. In the same category: New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. drew a 15-yarder for unsportsmanlike conduct when he yanked off his helmet after scoring on a 66-yard catchand-run to beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-23.
NFL Senior VP of Officiating Dean Blandino posted a video on Twitter to cite the rules that led to the penalties, with a specificity that sounded sort of silly. What he didn’t do: Explain why the rules make sense.
On the Davis flag, Blandino said: “You can’t dunk the ball over the goalpost, shoot the ball, finger roll. All of that is illegal.”
On the Beckham flag, he said: “You cannot take your helmet off as part of a celebration, a demonstration or as part of a confrontation with an opponent or a game official.”
Redskins cornerback Josh Norman — fined $9,115 this month by the NFL for a bow-and-arrow pantomime after an interception — called the flag on his teammate Davis “crazy” and “ridiculous.”
“I guess shooting hoops is frowned upon, too. If I slap somebody’s hand on a good play, maybe they’re going to call us for that — who knows?” Norman said. “When is enough, enough? ... I mean, shoot, that’s what we are: We are entertainers.”
Given the league’s predilection for removing any unchoreographed moments, Detroit Lions receiver Golden Tate’s pockets might be a little lighter this week. After scoring during a 31-28 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, he grabbed a cheerleader’s pair of blue pompoms and joined in the dancing.
“I was going back to the sideline and I just saw these new cheerleaders and I figured, ‘Hey, why not party with them for a little bit?’ ... Just having fun,” Tate said. “Just having a lot of fun.” Not sure that’s allowed. In case you missed it, here are the other top topics after the NFL season’s sixth Sunday:
P.I. or P.I.?
Julio Jones, coach Dan Quinn and the rest of the Falcons appeared to have a legitimate gripe after their 26-24 loss to the Seahawks. On fourth down with 90 seconds left, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman clearly grabbed Jones’ right arm on a deep pass, leading to an incompletion. Quinn protested vigorously on the sideline, yelling and pulling off his hat, to no avail. Jones called it “just a missed call.” Blandino’s predecessor as head of NFL officiating, Mike Pereira, tweeted: “No question that was PI. They’re all tough, but you have to make that call.”
Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday in Landover, Md.