By: Will Burchfield
The NFL took a step toward shedding its ‘No Fun League’ moniker on Tuesday by relaxing its rules on touchdown celebrations.
The response from players around the league has been overwhelmingly positive, and the Lions are no exception.
“I like it, I like it,” said wide receiver Marvin Jones. “Definitely. It just brings back a little spice that kind of lacked when it was ruled. I don’t know, maybe you’ll see me do a couple things.”
Asked if he has any ideas yet, Jones laughed before adding, “No, no, they’ll be good though. I’m not a celebrator, so if I do it it’s gonna be great.”
Players will be able to use the football as a prop, celebrate as a group and dance to their heart’s content, so long as their actions don’t serve to embarrass their opponents or mimic the use of weapons.
Flamboyant tight end Eric Ebron, to no surprise, is fully on board.
“Yeah, I’m with it. Hopefully I have more than one touchdown this season but I’m definitely with that and everything that it brings to the table. It gives us a chance to keep our fans happy,” he said.
Ebron’s lone touchdown in 2016 came in Week 1. He’s hoping for more chances to celebrate in 2017.
Jones, who had four touchdowns in 2016, fondly remembers watching receivers like Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens and Steve Smith celebrate their touchdowns in colorful fashion when he was a kid. He may draw on them for inspiration when he finds the end zone this season.
“The Chad’s, T.O.’s and Steve Smiths, back when the celebration rule was kind of lax those were the only three that you (would) see every Sunday because they’d just play the heck out there,” Jones said. “So it’ll be cool, it’ll be cool.”
Even coach Jim Caldwell, a self-described ‘old-school guy,’ seems ready to embrace the rule change.
“You give those guys a little time to get creative,” he said with a smile, “and they’ll come up with a few things.”
Touchdown celebrations have become as ingrained in the game of football as fleet-footed running backs and flinty-eyed coaches. This is something Caldwell first came to understand in a serendipitous manner — indeed, almost by accident.
“I’ll tell you how oblivious I am to some of those things that are going on,” he said. “I was sitting down with my grandsons early on when they were very small and they were going through the video games and I was watching. The guy would make a tackle or make a sack and he’d get up in the video game and start doing all these different sort of gyrations and all these different things, moving around, and I’m saying, ‘That’s unrealistic, they don’t do that.’ Then I thought about it and I just started watching after plays, and I mean, it was true to life. Obviously they do a lot of those things.”
“I’m an old-school guy, don’t make any mistake about that, but it’s kind of the way of the world these days,” he added.
Caldwell said the NFL will help each team educate its players on the new rules.
“They’ll provide a film for us to take a look at to show our players what is acceptable and what’s unacceptable. But I think you’ll see some pretty creative things out there,” he said.