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NFL’s Ban On Goalpost Dunks Shows League Has Everything Else Figured Out

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Jiimmy Graham  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Jiimmy Graham (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — You’ve no doubt seen it before while sitting in your living room on a Sunday afternoon, and you’ve no doubt been disgusted. You’ve shielded your children’s eyes, advised them to look away and start screaming “La la la la!” in an effort to immediately erase the image burned onto their brains. Alas, the damage has likely been done.

I’m talking, of course, about the most horrific of events to ever take place on an NFL field.

I’m talking about … goalpost dunks.

Just typing those letters on this keyboard is enough to give me the chills, and I’m sure for you, the reader, it’s a painful sight. Fortunately though, they will soon only be a thing of the past, because the NFL is banning the practice, effective immediately.

NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino, a true hero who maintains the safety in society, told The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday that the NFL already has a rule in place that prohibits players from using the ball as a prop, so slam dunks on goalposts (sorry, again, for the coarse language) will now be a penalty under an adjusted interpretation of that language.

I think I speak for every single American football fan when I say thank you, Mr. Blandino, and thank you, Mr. Commissioner Roger Goodell, for removing this abhorrent behavior from your sport. No longer will we be subjected to the offensive behavior of these athletes celebrating by jumping in the air and sending the football to the ground.

Instead, we’ll be allowed to focus on the good-natured, clean, pure game that we call American football. And the fact that the folks at the NFL are taking steps toward banning goalpost dunks tells you that they’ve solved every single one of their other problems that ranked higher on the importance scale.

Concussions? Solved!

How do we know that? Why, it’s because Goodell told us himself! He told us that concussions were down last year, and he was considerate enough to not bother us with those pesky statistics and figures that would prove it. That’s why he gets paid $44.2 million per year — he reads those big numbers and gives us the easy digest. And that concise report says that the league’s concussion problem is going away!

And what about those horribly inconsistent referees and officials? The league must have fixed that, too.

If you went around the league right now and asked each fan base to pick out the top three worst calls that went against their team this year, it might take them a while to whittle the list down. There are many in New England who saw that sentence and were immediately transported back to Charlotte and the pass-interference-that-wasn’t. Likewise, 49ers fans still can’t believe the roughing the passer penalty that cost them a win in New Orleans. But fear not — if the league is stepping in and giving the referees another rule to enforce, clearly the men in stripes have been hitting the books hard this offseason and are much improved at their job. The added responsibility of policing goalpost dunks (shudder) shows that these men are capable of doing a much better job.

Then there’s the problem of those lousy Thursday night games. But don’t worry, because the goalpost dunk ban is a two birds with one stone situation.

Yeah, the level of play on Thursdays is not up to par with what we expect from the NFL, what with the lack of practice time that both teams have leading up to the game. But hey, have you ever wondered this: Maybe people don’t like watching games on Thursdays because they have to watch these inconsiderate jerks jumping around and dunking on the goalposts like they’re basketball players or something. Yeah, bet you never thought of that. Give a gander at the Thursday night games this season and wonder to yourself, “Gee, why am I enjoying this so much more than before?” and the answer will be clear: No. More. Dunks.

Another common complaint among fans has to do with ticket prices. Namely, they’re too darn high.

Well, first of all, your opinion doesn’t matter, peasant. Second of all, fans will be more willing to shell out between $500 and $1,000 to bring their two kids to a game if they know they’ll be seeing wholesome, good, clean fun. If anything, teams ought to raise prices in the wake of this goalpost dunk ban.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that the NFL really doesn’t seem to care about a player’s criminal record, so long as that man can play football.

You’ve got Kenny Britt, a man who’s been arrested more than a half-dozen times in his brief five-year career, being wined and dined at facilities around the country as the free agent apple of many GMs’ eyes. You’ve got this awesome list from last June, which listed 27 NFL players arrested in the five-month span that preceded its release. And now you’ve even got an owner in the mix, with Jim Irsay getting arrested for driving while intoxicated. But hey, he’s not as bad as those players, right?

Maybe instead of demonizing the criminals, we should be asking how they got that way and what led them to commit crime. Clearly, the NFL wants to foster a non-violent, non-aggressive environment and obviously, that effort begins with a ban on goalpost dunks.

LeSean McCoy (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

LeSean McCoy (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Sure the NFL had no issue whatsoever when Aaron Hernandez — who may or may not be a murderer, depending on who you ask — celebrated his touchdowns by pretending to “make it rain,” which is a time-honored tradition of sliding dollar bills from a large stack into the air to let strippers know that they’re doing a dandy job with their dancing. The TV networks would always zoom in on Hernandez and give him his stage, allowing him to work some creativity into this strip club celebration. Remember when he pretended to dig up a buried treasure and then made it rain? Ha! What a hoot! That Aaron Hernandez, he sure knows what clean-cut comedy is. Isn’t he the type of guy you can picture yourself clowning around with? I know I can!

The league had no reason to ban Hernandez’s “making it rain” celebration, because he was a good guy doing a good thing. But now that he’s left football to pursue other endeavors (such as drawing the female form in letters to friends and sucker-punching unsuspecting prisoners), the NFL is running out of good guys who perform family-friendly celebrations.

That’s where the dunk ban comes into play. Of course, the NFL will say that Jimmy Graham’s goalpost dunk which actually dislodged the posts and delayed a game are a major reason why this is happening, we all know the truth. It’s because as football fans, we’re sick and tired. We’ve had enough of the danger, the hypocrisy and the nonsense that’s become all too prevalent in the NFL, and we know the path to solving all of it begins and ends with this ban on dunking a football through the goalposts. (That Graham incident took place during a Thursday night game, by the way. Never again!)

So thank you again, Roger Goodell and everyone else involved in this very important decision. It is a decision like this one — as well as the decision to fine players for wearing shoes that don’t match, or wearing socks low, or the decision to penalize a Cowboys lineman for “going to the ground in a celebration” because he fell over after a chest bump — that can lead us out of the darkness and into the light. Save the dunks for basketball, world, because we’re not going to stoop down to that deplorable level of behavior.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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