The NFL plans to penalize dunking over the crossbars

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The NFL announced yesterday that it will penalize players for dunking through the goal posts to celeberate a touchdown. Many players and fans alike are understandably distraught.

Things just keep getting worse and worse for Jimmy Graham, what a terrible off-season he's having. First, he's stabbed in the back by his own team with a franchise tag. Then, he unexpectedly loses a close teammate to the trade block and now... and now...

Nah I'm just kidding, Big Jim will be perfectly fine I'm sure. If my Dad has taught me anything (he has), it's that a cheque for $7 million will cure any ailment (it will). And if you're wondering where the $7 million is coming from, that's Big J's current franchise tag number.

But the G-man's well-being aside, the league has made a very tiny, minuscule wave by announcing they will now start to penalize dunking over the goal posts after a touchdown. It's not a new proposal as such, tragically using the ball as a prop in a celebration was already against the rules, so now they've essentially just decided that dunking it over something emphatically to show how awesome you are constitutes a celebration with the football, and penalize players accordingly.

To be perfectly honest, this makes sense. If it's illegal to celebrate using the football as a prop then dunking it is illegal. Perhaps the ever fun-loving NFL would have continued to turn a blind eye were it not for crazy JG's crossbar breaking dunk against Atlanta. Well done Jim, you've ruined it for everyone.

This really isn't a big deal, but it does provide some ammunition with which to pelt the NFL if you are so inclined.

The "NFL is a big wet blanket" crowd are definently going to be writing some strongly worded essays, and rightly so. One slightly squint goal post does not an epidemic make, as Aristotle once said, and dunking provided 4 seconds of entertainment at least per game. The NFL is a spoilt sport, basically.

The "the too much worrying about player safety" mob are going to be rioting in the streets any day now. This is just another example of Goodell legislating the game toward flag football. So what if players can sprain an ankle on the descent? That's what they're paid millions for anyway.

If you think these two parties are taking it to the extreme, the "NFL purists" are positively mutinous. The dunk has a heritage in the NFL that goes back to the very, very beginning. If the first thing that comes to your head when you think of the NFL is not Otto Graham, leather helmets and dunking over goalposts, you never knew what Football was really about. Sometimes, they swear they don't even recognise the game their watching.

Personally I wasn't particularly bothered about the issue. I enjoyed watching players dunk over the goalposts as much as any man could really. But you can't have people breaking crossbars, and if it's against the rules it's against the rules.

Well, that was my opinion until I saw that Tony Gonazales was a bit upset. And if Tony's upset, I'm upset. Any chance we had of Little T making an epic last time comeback to win a Super Bowl have all but evaporated. Congratulations NFL, you've ruined it for everyone.

Oh, and an interesting trivia fact should it ever come up. The last ever player to dunk over the crossbar was none other than the least likely of players, and perhaps the most unheralded Super Bowl MVP in history, Malcolm Smith.

If you don't know who that is I don't blame you, I think I'm one of the few who do. He's a nose tackle for the Seahawks, and although he was unavailable for comment at this time, it should be fairly obvious which of his accolades he treasures more.

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