Pretty much everybody on earth except for John Mara agrees that the NFL's new taunting enforcement is horrible. Sadly, since his grandfather founded the New York Football Giants in 1925, he has the power to ruin the game that made his entire family rich beyond their wildest dreams. Only in America!
If you're unfamiliar with the story since I didn't blog it when the news broke in August, John Mara, a 66-year-old blanco fossil who looks like human Pez Dispenser, said he doesn't like taunting, so he used his power to eliminate it from the game.
John Mara is on the NFL's competition committee and basically flexed his surname muscles to get this rule enforcement changed.
via: Sporting News
The competition committee is comprised of Mara, Cowboys executive Stephen Jones, Packers president Mark Murphy, Falcons president Rich McKay, Ravens executive Ozzie Newsome, Broncos executive John Elway, and head coaches Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton and Ron Rivera.
Traditionally selected by the commissioner, the competition committee suggests rule changes for owners, who have to vote on the rules during the year.
The question remains: Where are the players in all of this?
The composition of the committee, though, is curious: You'll find that nowhere in that group is an active or recently retired NFL player. While Newsome and Elway both make the panel, they played in a much more buttoned-down era of the sport. Not giving more of a voice to players to operate with players in mind seems a bit backwards. Bias works both ways, after all.
In any case, the NFL is going to focus a bit more on taunting this year, taking some heated moments out of the game, and Mara will have his way in pushing the NFL towards the No Fun League again.
The only taunting penalty I agree with is spinning the ball after a first down. I can't stand that (it's a step below DeShaun Watson signaling for a first down when he's on the wrong side of a 21-0 playoff game). It slows the game down and is the antithesis is of swag. If you wanna do that after scoring, it's a whole 'nother story, but I'm 1,000% cool with it being a penalty. It's not an emotional play; it's just a guy, for lack of a better word...taunting.
But unlike the vast majority of NFL players, "taunting" is not black and white. There are plenty of gray areas when it comes to what is now considered taunting. As someone who played high school football and was a key returner going into my senior year AND a key loss after our 1-7 season, I know a thing or two about football being a highly emotional game. Let them fucking show it. These are grown men who dedicated their lives to scrambling their brains and tearing their knees like tissue paper for our enjoyment in the NFL every Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and sometimes late in the year, Saturday. If they want to flex or talk a little shit, I say have at it. Even Bill Belichick believes in showing emotion after a big play.
This clip has been making the rounds online and shows all the ridiculous calls from just yesterday alone. Ironically the first clip is a ball spin, but after that, it's pretty tame.
After the NFL started allowing celebrations again, literally putting a celebration cam in the endzone, it felt like the No Fun League was taking a step in the right direction. Now it's 15 yards in the wrong one for being excited. These are game altering penalties that are ruining the on-field product. Do we want robots out there? (I'm sure they're coming at some point, but hopefully long after I die sometime in the 2040s). They're trying to legislate emotion out of the game and everybody should be against that. First they killed my fist-bump.I'm pro-taunting from an entertainment and storyline standpoint, but I get the B.S. excuse "what about the kids?" because that's been a go to excuse for people who don't want to take 10 minutes to talk to their children and explain something since the beginning of time. Tell high school Harry if he gets to the NFL he can taunt all he wants, but for now it's about learning the fundamentals.
Who do I blame for all of this?
Mr. Scumbag himself, Tyreek Hill.
They say to never retaliate, that it's always the second guy who gets in trouble and that couldn't be more true with taunting enforcement. Since Bucs safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. chucked a deuce up at a "man" who choked his pregnant girlfriend in college at the Super Bowl, I feel like taunting has a higher profile.
It made for great theater after Hill did the same thing in Winfield's face during Week 12 when the Chiefs beat the Bucs 27-24.
I'm sorry, but that was poetic justice. Tyreek Hill deserves to be embarrassed and belittled on a national stage. I bet everybody outside of Kansas City loved it. Honestly, I bet he had teammates who got a laugh (if they already had a ring from 2019). If Hill didn't embarrass Winfield, he wouldn't never retaliated in February. Yet again, Tyreek Hill gets away with it. In short, these penalties stink on ice, and John Mara, don't let your old fogey-ness ruin the game that gave your family **Chris Traeger voice** literally everything. If you don't like taunting, look the other way.