If I Were Commissioner: Celebrations

It's time for another exciting rendition of "if I were commissioner," in which I take a look at some of the current rules of the game, and change them to make it better. In some of the past segments, I've explored instant replay, as well as the severity of certain penalties. This next issue is one I find near and dear to my heart, the issue of celebration.

The issue of what is or isn't unsportsmanlike conduct is football's version of abortion, or the New York Yankees for example. Everyone has a strong opinion about it one way or the other. I am no exception to the rule, and I am in favor of celebration, as long as there is something legitimate to celebrate.

Why do people attend sporting events, or movies, or theater in general? The answer you will receive from most people is to be entertained (with the certain exception of Cleveland and Detroit, where attending a football game and rooting for the home team is almost always a painful experience). I'm not in favor of any legislation that tries to take some of the fun out of the game I love. If a player scores a touchdown, let him celebrate. Let him dance, let him pretend he's sinking a putt (Chad Johnson), let him do pretty much whatever he wants, as long as it lasts fewer than 45 seconds. If an opposing player feels slighted that Chad Johnson just burned him for a touchdown and he's doing the "Riverdance," good. Next time, don't let him score.

Aside from the 45 second time limit, there are some exceptions to this rule. First of all, the play in which you are celebrating has to be, "a big play". Anything over 25 yards, or something that results in a turnover, possibly a forced fumble or interception is acceptable, along with any scoring play that isn't a field goal unless it sets some kind of record, or ends the game with a victory. There can't be any celebrations from eight-yard receptions or making a nice block (sorry Reggie Williams), those types of activities make the player look well,...stupid. The next restriction I have from celebrating openly is spiking the ball without being in the end zone. No more spiking the ball unless a touchdown is scored. It slows down play, and could show up opponents legitimately.

In summation, I don't want the NFL to be the "no fun league." I like creativity with end zone celebrations, and the players that are doing it appear to be having fun. All of the people who are against celebrating will point out Barry Sanders, and how he used to "act like he's been there before," by handing the ball to the official. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, in today's game, a game in which self-promotion is huge, especially to players' off the field income, I see nothing wrong with choreographing a little dance, as long as it is in the end zone, and less than 45 seconds.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. Feel free to contact Charlie HERE

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