Memo To College Football Players: Stop Dropping The Ball Before The End Zone

Ryan Mayer

A few years ago, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson made one of the all-time boneheaded plays in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. You probably remember it, but in case you had forgotten, go ahead and fast forward to the number one play in the below video.

That play happened in 2008. Yet, in the past three weeks of college football we’ve seen three different players make the same mistake as Jackson in celebrating before they actually scored a touchdown. And it’s not just this year.

Slate compiled a list of all players who have done this and there have been 15(!) players that have done it since Jackson’s all-time blooper on national television.

Look, I get it. College kids, myself included, rarely ever learn from the mistakes of others that have come before them, so expecting players to remember a play that happened when most of them were still in elementary or middle school is likely unrealistic. However, it’s truly mind boggling that this particular mistake continues to be repeated over and over again.

I’m a huge fan of players celebrating after big plays. Hit a huge home run? Bat flip as high as you want. Score a goal in hockey? Do your best Charlie Conway fist-pumping celebration. Return a punt or catch a long touchdown? Pull a sharpie from your sock, putt the ball with a pylon, whatever you want to do. Some of my favorite memories of watching football as a kid came from those old celebration duels between Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson.

But, please, please make sure you get to the end zone first.

Since Saturday, Cal coach Sonny Dykes, whose receiver Vic Enwere was one of the perpetrators of this premature celebration, has announced that he’s instituting a new team rule that players must hand the ball to the official after scoring. Coaches across the country need to follow Dykes’ lead.

This may seem trivial, but in reality, all three of the schools that have had players do this have either lost or should have lost the games in which it happened. Oklahoma got its doors blown off despite Mixon’s touchdown counting because the refs missed the call and the only reason Cal didn’t lose is because of the ineptitude of the officials saying there wasn’t an “immediate recovery” (an issue for another day) and Clemson beat Troy by just six. At some point, this is going to cost a team the game.

Looking for solutions? I think any or all of Jon Solomon’s ideas are pretty solid.

One Other Note: Louisville Looks Like A Playoff Contender

Last week, I said it was far too early to hand the Heisman over to Lamar Jackson. That’s still the case.

But, man, did Jackson and his teammates put on a show with Gameday in town as they ran all over Florida State 63-20. It’s not often that the Seminoles look slow against their opposition, but that’s what happened with them facing Jackson this past weekend.

Jackson’s counterpart, Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois, had the momentum of his Heisman train derailed after his showing against the Cards, but Jackson’s is only gathering steam.

My favorite stat about Jackson so far? His 18 touchdowns are more than 114 TEAMS currently have. However, the Cardinals do still have road games looming against both Clemson and Houston. That means there’s plenty of opportunity for Jackson to continue to shine in the national spotlight, but there’s also a chance he could falter.

Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.

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