Football with flair: While We’re Waiting

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, you guys. The news is just… a lot lately, isn’t it? There are both horrible and frustrating things happening here and abroad and, at times, it can be overwhelming to scroll through a social media platform like Twitter and take it all in.

It’s easy to feel inundated with so much upsetting news swirling around, and lately I find myself looking for a little relief, retreating to @BabyAnmals on Instagram and all the corgi videos I can find on YouTube.

Desperate for a little good news, an unexpected source—the NFL—delivered this week. Never did I think the No Fun League, ahem National Football League, would surprise me with a little piece of positive news when I needed it, but here we are. Tuesday afternoon, NFL Commissioner and generally all-around-unpopular guy Roger Goodell made an announcement that will—I hope—have a huge impact on the league.

THAT’S RIGHT. NFL touchdown celebrations are back! Well, kind of. The rules around NFL touchdown celebrations are loosened, ya’ll! Call me a dork if you want (it wouldn’t be the first time), but I find myself very excited about this.

In an effort to put some “flair” and fun back into football. Goodell announced that certain types of touchdown celebrations would be allowed in the upcoming NFL season. Celebrations permitted include using the football as a prop, celebrating as a group and rolling around on the ground (snow angels, anyone?).

Any celebrations deemed offensive will still be penalized, including suggestive dancing (sorry, guys, still no twerking), ridiculing opponents and mimicking weapon use. But who wants to see those anyway?

Goodell cited conversations with more than 80 current and former NFL players in determining his decision, and shared the news via Twitter and in an email sent to NFL fans. An excerpt from that announcement:

We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown. And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.

Thank you for acknowledging that, Roger, we NFL fans do love spontaneous displays of emotion when it comes to football. We also don’t love unnecessary penalties or rules that prevent NFL players and fans alike from celebrating successes and generally enjoying ourselves at the game.

The NFL’s former rules around touchdown celebrations seemed overly harsh, inciting as much as 15 penalty yards and striking a nerve with those on and off the field. I’ve even read that NFL referees have complained about the severity of the rules, stating that it puts them in difficult (and often unpopular) situations when deciding what’s allowed and what’s not.

And while these new, loosened-up rules aren’t perfect, and they certainly aren’t and exact, they feel like step in the right direction.

Twitter can be a funny place, and I was admittedly surprised to see this news was met with a lot of cynicism on social media. I came across a lot of tweets expression feelings of “Too little, too late” and “Who cares? You already ruined it. We can’t enjoy it now.” I get that, but I also don’t. Why not just enjoy it? When you’re a little kid and you’re told not to run, you listen and you walk. Then, you probably break into a full sprint the minute you can. This is kind of the same thing. The rules were harsh, but now they’re not. Let’s relax and have some fun.

After all, touchdown celebrations are just that, a small celebration. They’re a moment for players to express themselves, and a moment for fans to enjoy. We’re getting them back—at least a little bit—and to me, that’s something to celebrate.

Before you take on your Thursday, here’s former Cleveland Brown Andrew Hawkins doing the robot (kind of) after catching an 11-yard pass from Cody Kessler for a TD. You can see more great celebrations here, courtesy of Charles Curis at USA TODAY. Enjoy, you guys.