Do you like fun? Well, then — I’ve got wonderful news for you. More than 30 years after the NFL started to clamp down on group touchdown celebrations by introducing language to the 1984 rulebook that banned “any prolonged, excessive, premeditated celebration by individual players or groups of players,” the No Fun League has taken a rather astonishing step in the other direction.
“We are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays,” commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a rather uncharacteristic letter to fans on Tuesday.
Touchdown scorers are now able to use the football as a prop, go to the ground and even include teammates in “group demonstrations” without being penalized.
That 180-degree turn might give us a chance to update this rather stagnant list of great team-oriented celebrations that we’ve enjoyed throughout NFL history:
1. The Dirty Bird
Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson was the centerpiece, but watching his offensive linemen join in was just magic. For several years in the 1990s, the entire Georgia Dome would join Anderson’s celebratory dance. It was the ultimate group demonstration.
2. The Bob ‘N Weave
Spearheaded by Torry Holt, this was a hallmark of the “Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams.
3. The Mile High Salute
Simple and understated yet powerful and respectful, the Denver Broncos’ go-to celebration has often said, “We’ve been here before.”
4. The Lambeau Leap
Obviously a classic, and an exception to recent NFL rules because of that. Involving the fans makes it seem even more fun. It’s not always a group celebration, but several players often join the touchdown scorer on the leap.
5. The Ickey Shuffle
Like most group celebrations, this one had a ring leader. It was Ickey Woods’ dance, but his teammates often joined in.
6. The Fun Bunch
NFLNow: At No. 1 on our ✋ list… The Redskins Fun Bunch!
— Vincent Pervis (@PerfectPervis) April 22, 2016
Washington Redskins wide receivers Art Monk, Virgil Seay, Charlie Brown, and Alvin Garrett, running back Otis Wonsley and tight ends Rick Walker, and Don Warren were called “The Fun Bunch” for their leaping group high-fives in the early 1980s. Pretty basic and seemingly tame, but it was this that led to new rules penalizing “excessive celebrations” in ’84.
Who might join this list in 2017? Watch out for the Pittsburgh Steelers receiving corps, led by Antonio Brown. Odell Beckham Jr. and his fellow New York Giants will also surely be scheming something up, and never count out Cam Newton and his offensive teammates with the Carolina Panthers.