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The NFL’s celebration rules are so dumb that even referees are calling for change

The NFL’s excessive celebration rules have irked the guys responsible for enforcing them

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like Roger Goodell and his gaggle of cackling henchmen are the only group left who support the NFL’s fun-exterminating excessive celebration penalties.

Scott Green, the head of the league’s Referees Association, expressed his displeasure with the league’s current protocol during a segment on Sirius XM radio, stating that there is “nothing worse” than trying to figure out what warrants an excessive celebration penalty. Scott Green is exactly the kind of contemporary thinker that affirms my faith in the league’s officiating ranks.

Tellingly, Green went as far as to say that he and his colleagues do not enjoy assessing penalties, due in large part to the degree of subjectivity involved in such calls. He is calling for the implementation of a system that’s a little more black and white. The dream of an NFL rulebook outlining the acceptable number of pelvic thrusts to fall within legal guidelines during a twerking celebration could be on the horizon.

Green’s solution makes sense for a number of reasons. For one, Goodell himself pioneered a centralized replay system in order to “speed up” games. Eliminating celebration penalties would enable on-field officials to make better use of their time, rather than keeping their eyes ever-so-fixed to players’ gyrating hips. It also prevents the ludicrously-strict 15-yard penalty that comes along with excessive celebrations. Under the current rules, blindsiding a defenseless receiver is just as illegal as being too excited about scoring a touchdown, which is exceedingly illogical. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, eliminating excessive celebration penalties provides players with an outlet to express themselves while boosting the league’s entertainment value (for the traditionalists among us, Green is still okay with fining players after the fact, but hey, you can’t win them all).

Of course, the NFL is apparently opting to do precisely none of this. In fact, the league might nix fines altogether and rely entirely on on-field penalties to teach players a lesson.

Perhaps the most prudent decision would be to simply relax on excessive celebrations across the board and let these dudes be entertainers, but we can’t even get the league to allow players to honor cancer victims in months that don’t end with “-tober,” so good luck with all that.