In each and every game so far this season, we Eagles fanatics have been witness to a good quantity of celebrations. I’m not referring to the traditional fist pump or high five–or even a small dance for that matter. Several of the Philadelphia players have executed celebratory moves that have been quite extreme that some analysts are calling “completely unnecessary and stupid” and others are calling “pure fun”. See, ten years ago, these celebrations and pre-planned “style moves” would probably have been accepted as an enlightening part of the game and seen as “showboating” in a good sense. However, as many will notice when watching today’s game, the NFL has become stricter on such plays, and is even quick to hand out fines, let alone penalties in the game, to the player(s) involved in the unnecessary act of celebration.
This has presented itself as a slight problem for a few Eagles so far this season, as stated before. Of course, with the salaries they receive, a fine here and there will surely not make a major effect on their income, but they remain a nagging issue. In the remainder of the article, the “silly” celebrations from this season’s Birds games are evaluated and looked at with a perspective from both the league’s side and a fan’s point of view:
Game: Week 1 vs. Carolina Panthers
Celebration/Unnecessary Action: After TE Brent Celek scored on a short TD pass from Donovan McNabb, WR DeSean Jackson gathered the TE and four others (C Jamaal Jackson, TE Alex Smith, WR Kevin Curtis, OG Stacy Andrews) into a circle in the endzone. DeSean got the ball and repeatedly bobbled it around, and then dropped to the ground and flopped around while being surrounded by the others, who also jumped up and down. The celebration has been said to be a gimmick of a scene in the classic football film Any Given Sunday.
Result: DeSean Jackson was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, and on the resulting kickoff after the TD, K David Akers was forced to boot the ball 15 yards behind from the spot in which he usually kicks. Following the game, all participants of the celebration were fined $10,000.
Evaluation: The group celebration was clearly against the rules, as the NFL had previously installed a policy banning celebrations with a cluster of players, however, it was simply out of the players’ wishes to have a good time and express their joy. They meant no harm to the opposing Panthers, and in no way mocked their team. It was the league’s job to discipline the action, but was a fine truly necessary? After all, Kevin Curtis and Alex Smith, both members of the incident, barely participated, and wound up having to pay the same amount of money. Overall, the group celebration probably shouldn’t have been executed, but was also not something that should have been a primary concern of the NFL.
Game: Week 2 vs. New Orleans Saints
Celebration/Unnecessary Action: During the typical player announcements and lineup reading at the Eagles’ stadium in which players’ names are called and they run onto the field out of the inflatable tunnel, there was an unexpected entry by CB Sheldon Brown. Following his name announcement, the veteran defender walked slowly out of the giant Eagle tunnel, and was donning a white hockey mask, that of the fictional movie killer “Jason Voorhees” from the Friday the 13th series. He tilted his head slowly just as the movie horror does so frequently, and then proceeded into running towards his fellow teammates. *Brown’s act can be seen in the picture above.*
Result: Although not penalized during the contest, Brown was fined $10,000 following the game for his act.
Evaluation: The pre-game incident had no particular reason behind it, but it was clear Brown wanted to act as a “threat” or “horror” to the opposing Saints, as well as create a bit of unexpected fun for the fans. I questioned the decision when I first saw it with my own eyes at Lincoln Financial Field, but didn’t expect it to be a problem with the league. I understand that the fine may have been petty, but then again, did Brown really have to look like a physco murderer while running out of the tunnel at a football game?
Game: Week 3 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Celebration/Unnecessary Action: WR DeSean Jackson found himself on the end of a beautiful throw by QB Kevin Kolb, and after taking the ball 64 yards, did a flip over the goal-line and into the endzone for a touchdown. He then transitioned from his flip into a slight acrobatic split in the endzone, and raised his hands in celebration.
Result: No Result has Come of the Week 3 Situation
Evaluation: I was quite surprised when there was no resulting penalty or fine following Jackson’s latest celebration. His flip (pictured above) into the endzone was entertaining, but also was potentially dangerous. Despite his personality and likely “need” to execute a self-promoting action of celebration with all the open space in the scoring play, Jackson entered the game slightly injured by a groin strain. Acrobatics including a flip/split might not be the smartest things to do while hurt, but again, Jackson was expressing his joy for the play, and also displaying his personal attitude while benefiting the team in the process.
After reviewing the celebrations and actions causing the most controversy this season, you have to wonder whether the Eagles should be more cautious and disciplined about the subject, or the league should loosen up their grip on such incidents. Head coach Andy Reid seems to be swaying away from the point that the Eagles need to be better, saying this in reference to DeSean Jackson’s playful antics: “I don’t mind a little personality,” ”I think that’s good for the team. I know with DeSean, when I tell him to act like he’s been there, he can tell me he’s been there once or twice. Adding a little spice to it doesn’t hurt.”
Current: Coming Soon!