The NFL’s decision to relax its celebration rules has generally been well received. But one man who’s not a fan is Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. You can read the entirety of Lewis’ quote here, but he said, in part, “that’s not a very good example for young people.” Commissioner Roger Goodell took Lewis’ point in stride, but he also expressed confidence that the league’s players will prove Lewis wrong.
Goodell, on #Bengals coach Marvin Lewis saying new celebration rules set a bad example: "I think the players will prove him wrong on that."
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 23, 2017
It can’t be stated enough that, over the years, Lewis’ teams have had (and still have) many players that would not be a called “a very good example for young people.”
Even in relation to this issue, we have Chad Johnson. While Ocho’s ugly off field incident took place while a member of the Miami Dolphins, he was known for his dramatic end zone celebrations as a member of the Bengals. Lewis may not have been a fan of those, but he didn’t do much to stop them, either. So, why is all of a sudden now so concerned about what example end zone celebrations are setting?
Excessive celebration penalties just miss the mark.
First of all, more often than not, they’re fun. Even the stodgiest of NFL fans can generally find it in him/her to crack a smile.
Secondly, they have a tremendous influence on the game. When your playing surface is only 100 yards, a 15-yard penalty is massive. It’s just plain ridiculous that an excessive celebration foul was worth as many yards as one for launching at someone’s head, or ripping the facemask of a player. Those are potentially life altering fouls. People aren’t losing years off of their lives because someone danced in the end zone.
Even if you loathe end zone celebrations, it’s impossible to claim that they’re as heinous as other 15-yard infractions.
If you’re arguing against Goodell and he’s coming off as the rational voice of reason, it’s time to change course. For several reasons, that’s precisely what Lewis should do.