By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The greatest touchdown celebration in NFL history took place last season in Week 5. It was performed by Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins, who caught a touchdown in the corner of the end zone to tie the game against the Patriots.
It was a momentous score for the home team, but rather than explode in a fit of joy, Hawkins decided to gather himself, place the football on the ground, rigidly stand straight up, pivot, and then begin walking back to the sideline.
He was being a robot. Because he felt that’s what the NFL wants him to be.
And based on some news this week, he’s absolutely correct.
The NFL’s executive vice president (and unofficial Upholder Of Integrity) Troy Vincent shared with the world on Twitter that he and the competition committee are currently in the process of addressing the very serious issue of player celebrations in the NFL.
Cluelessness while handling issues of domestic violence? Beh.
High-profile cases of lying from NFL execs? Nah.
Declining ratings? Fake news.
Breast cancer “awareness” that doesn’t actually help anybody? Nobody cares.
Potential collusion among owners? No comment.
Nope, let’s ignore all that. Let’s ban leaps over the line on field goal block attempts, fix an overtime system that is not in need of fixing, and address the all-important matter of determining what kind of celebrations are “appropriate.”
That’s the forward-looking NFL for you.
Of course, “appropriate” levels of celebration became a hot-button issue last year (at the NFL’s own doing) because the league deemed bow-and-arrow celebrations to be too violent for the innocent eyeballs watching the games from the stands and their living rooms.
Yes, shield your eyes, young football fans. Violence is coming!
Too violent! (I think. Maybe. Not a very clear job what you were doing there, Cushing. Maybe we really do need this instructional video after all.)
To be honest, it’s a great call for the NFL to care so deeply about limiting violent behavior the fans have to see. Violence must not ever be allowed to take place on a football field. It’s imperative.
It cannot be tolerated.
Violence must not be shown — at all costs!
We must set an example for the future!
It makes sense, too, the need to downplay violence on the football field. It’s not like the league allows a team to have people literally fire guns every time the home team scores points.
Oh. Well. You see. Kids these days don’t run the risk of getting into a musket battle on the streets. A bow-and-arrow shootout is much more common. You see. Right.
It’s not just violence, either, that the NFL wanted to crack down on last year. It was thrusting.
Oh, right, lest we not forget: There’s one more area which the NFL will not allow its players to tread. And that area is the dirty world known as … basketball.
We’ve known for years that slam-dunking the football on the goal posts was banned, because the goal posts fell over once. (Simple alternate solution: hire a handyman whose goalposts don’t fall down under such little pressure.) But we’ve also learned that hitting a jump shot or making a layup over the pretend basketball hoop is strictly forbidden. Such fanciful, imaginative thoughts are simply unbecoming for an NFL player. They must be stopped at once.
(This is going to be one long video, Troy Vincent! You might need to hire a big-name director!)
This makes sense. Think about it: If kids see a football player playing basketball for a second, what is little Johnny going to think? Little Johnny is going to believe that it’s OK for a man to play football and basketball at the same time. And that’s confusing for a young, developing mind in this crazy mixed-up world. All the NFL is trying to do is simplify things for this impressionable young chap. And frankly, the league ought to be commended for it.
Now let’s all celebrate with some appropriate huzzahs and handshakes before getting back to our day.