I’m officially sick and tired of the excessive celebration penalty in football, and now it has reached the high-school level. Boston Cathedral QB Matthew Owens ran for a 56-yard touchdown and looked to have the go-ahead score late in the 4th quarter against Blue Hills. Everything about the play was fine….except the part where he raised his fist in the air at about the 20 yard line. Just like in college football, celebrating before scoring a touchdown not only costs you 15 yards, but the touchdown is taken away.
Here is the play in question:
Owens, a senior playing on his 18th birthday, threw an interception on the very next play and Blue Hills would go on to win the game and the state title.
I’m sick of this. There is nothing in that video to suggest anything other than pure excitement of scoring the potential game-winning touchdown for your school. Raising your fist isn’t some sort of taunt like the official college football rules state:
“If the ball is alive when the player makes a taunting gesture, then the penalty is enforced at the spot of the foul – and the key outcome: no touchdown.’’
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! A taunting penalty, which is almost certainly a subjective call and is at the referee’s discretion, is treated the same as a holding or clipping call?
I cannot really be angry at the referees as they’re being instructed to do as they’re told, but I can be pissed off at the new rules and this new era of “controlling your emotions” in sports. Basically the NFL and NCAA decided to lump anything that could be deemed as a gesture into one gigantic bucket and will flag you relentlessly. These are not gang signs, obscene gestures, choreographed dances, simulated sex acts, etc. It’s the raising of a fist whilst running in stride and five yards in the clear!
You don’t see baseball changing the rules to take away a home run if you celebrate excessively, do you? As long as you touch all of the bases you can celebrate how you want. Goals scored in soccer always stand and at worst you get a yellow card for taking off your shirt or going into the stands. Football at a collegiate and high school level is the only sport I can think of where a legal scoring play is taken away because of a celebratory gesture. I’m done with this stupid stupid celebration topic. There is no argument to be made for the rules the NCAA has put in place.
I firmly believe there is an underlying cause to all of these befuddling decisions. This is following a long pattern of the “Self-Esteem Movement”. Dodgeball is banned in select schools across the country due to the fear of someone getting hurt or “feeling targeted”. A Virginia school actually banned tag and touch football! All of these schools hide behind the fear of lawsuit, as well. If that’s the case then they must have no money in their budget to hire an average rent-a-lawyer, because parents who sue the school because their kid got hurt playing dodgeball should have no case in court.
I’ve already gone through childhood and managed as much dodgeball, football, tag, and other rough-and-tumble games that are being taken away. I’ve taunted, been taunted, celebrated early, gotten the odd scrape and bruises, and survived. I’ll be damned if this stupid nanny state is going to seep into the high school, college, and professional ranks of sport.
End this insanity, please!