‘No Fun League’ Strikes Again as NFL Eliminates Goal Post Dunking Celebrations

Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham
Derick E Hingle USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Graham has yet to receive the long-term contract extension he sought this offseason, and now it just feels like the league is picking on him.

On Tuesday, the NFL eliminated goal post dunking celebrations by making it a penalty, which begs the question: what did the goal posts ever do to the NFL owners?

The New Orleans Saints All-Pro tight end has since vowed to lead the league in penalties this season, meaning he won’t allow the latest example of the NFL’s “No Fun League” policies to stop him from partaking in his signature end-zone celebrations.

As for the consequences: a 15-yard penalty? I guess the Saints’ defense will have to get accustomed to defending a short field. And increasing fines? Well, hopefully Graham gets that bank-breaking deal he wants so badly.

But more importantly, what in the world is the NFL doing? What compelled the owners to propose this rule, then go ahead and write it in stone? The league eliminated touchdown celebrations years ago, which practically exiled Chad Johnson (Chad Ochocinco?) from the league. Now they’re taking away the players’ newfound fun.

I just can’t seem to fathom the purpose of this newly implemented rule. In an interview with the “Dan Patrick Show,” NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino explained the rationale, but there are plenty of holes in the argument.

“We put in a rule about five or six years ago about using the ball as a prop,” Blandino said. “We grandfathered in the Lambeau Leap and some things like that. But dunking will come out. Using the ball as a prop — or using any object as a prop, like the goal post or cross bar — that will come out and that will be a foul next season.”

I guess it’s a prop, but is it doing anything more than forcing the officials to take an extra six seconds to pick up the ball? That’s barely worthy of a delay-of-game call. It just feels like the NFL owners wanted to enact a new rule, and this time it feels like they’re playing the bully role, taking some extracurricular fun away from the players and fans.

What’s worse is that the NFL’s Competition Committee is about to raise the goal posts by five feet, making it impossible for Graham to even try his post-touchdown dunks. Unless Graham swaps his Black and Gold jersey for one that’s red and blue and encompasses a cape, he won’t even have the opportunity to make a mockery of the rule.

So thanks, NFL owners, for taking a little excitement out of the game. Just when we thought the “No Fun League” was on the verge of extinction, it surfaces from the dead to strike again. Hopefully in the future we can eliminate all fun acts that go on in the game, like cheering or tailgating. Eventually we can get to the point where the game is played in utter silence. That sounds fun, right?

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Sam Spiegelman
Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.