Is the Fun Bunch coming back?
The NFL ended its draconian rules limiting player celebrations by allowing groups to do so together. The football can be used as a prop so Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis can once again simulate a jump shot through goal posts. Why, players can even make snow angels on the ground.
Isn’t that nice?
Truth told, the NFL needs player celebrations once more. The restrictive rules were boring and the NFL is most of all an entertainment business. It won’t take long for TV networks to start showing group celebrations like the Redskins’ old Fun Bunch when receivers high-fived together after scores. Look for T-shirts of celebrations and any other way the NFL can make a buck off it.
This is about ratings and money and not merely what players want as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. The NFL doesn’t care what players want. Never has, never will. But if their goals coincide, well then let the good times roll.
“We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown,” Goodell wrote in a letter to players. “And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.”
Taunting is still barred and Redskins’ cornerback Josh Norman’s acting like he’s shooting a bow and arrow that drew a $12,154 fine last season remains a dangerous act. Excessive celebrations that delay the game are still banned along with anything considered offensive. Who’s the gatekeeper of that call is debatable.
But it won’t cost Davis $12,154 to practice his jump shot anymore, though the NFL later reduced it to $6,000. That past fine won’t be returned, though. Consider it the cost of Goodell’s education.
“That would be nice,” joked Davis of a refund.
But Davis knows fans like to see the little extras after scores. Signature plays without going so far as to hide a Sharpie in their socks to sign balls or a cell phone to call home.
“It keeps the game going,” Davis said. “Everyone gets excited. They want to see it.”
Quarterback Kirk Cousins sees value in letting players celebrate.
“It got to the point I didn’t see the harm in [celebrations,]” he said. “There’s not a single faction that doesn’t want it.”
Will Cousins start making snow angels after a touchdown run? Is a much taller version of the Redskins’ celebrated Fun Bunch of Art Monk, Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark plus others in the late 1980s suddenly back with Terrelle Pryor, Brian Quick and Josh Doctson?
Coach Jay Gruden all but rolled his eyes when asked his feelings on the new rule. It fell into his repeated “Who cares?” responses on NFL rule changes. But, fans will enjoy the celebrations while the NFL converts it into another money maker.
Now, the bigger question: Will the Redskins do something worth celebrating this fall?
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.