WASHINGTON — Retired NFL receiver Donté Stallworth made a fascinating revelation about former Saints teammate Joe Horn’s infamous 2003 cell phone touchdown celebration.
In the video above you’ll see Horn’s memorable celebration, which came during the second quarter of a Dec. 2003 blowout win over the New York Giants in New Orleans.
After catching a 13-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Brooks, Horn runs over to the goal post and removes a cell phone — which he’d stashed there at some point before the game — and simulates making a phone call.
“I had told my kids to be at home, watching the game, and I told my momma, ‘Mom, if I score the second one, I’m going to get my cell phone out,'” Horn later recalled of the incident.
It was an iconic moment during a memorable period in the NFL in which flashy stars, like Terrell Owens, Chad
Johnson Ochocinco Johnson and Horn, audaciously expressed themselves through celebration, while accruing massive, escalating fines from the league.
Horn earned a $30,000 fine for his cell phone stunt.
During a radio interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, Stallworth, who was on the field with Horn for that game, revealed some of the more intriguing details about Horn’s preparation for the cell phone bit.
“I enjoy guys being able to express themselves. I used to love seeing Chad Ochocinco do those things,” Stallworth said. “I played on the team when Joe Horn grabbed the cell phone. He had that planned for eight weeks, it just so happened that he did it on that day.”
Asked if Horn actually planted the cell phone in the goal post eight weeks earlier, Stallworth said, “He did. Quick story… that same year, Terrell Owens, that’s the year he grabbed the Sharpie out of his sock.
“And he signed the football and handed it to the guy at Dallas, when I think he was playing with the 49ers or the Eagles. So Joe Horn, before T.O. did that, Joe Horn had been planning to do that for at least eight weeks. And I remember literally that cell phone was on the field under the goal post for like six or seven straight weeks, and he never scored a touchdown in that end zone until we played the Giants on, I think it was a Sunday or Monday night.”
“He scored like three or four touchdowns that game, and I think he scored three of them in that end zone,” Stallworth recalled. “And so it was already down there. It had been down there in pre-game.”
What incredible lengths Horn went to see his imaginative stunt realized. While Stallworth was a bit off on the preceding timeline — Owens pulled the Sharpie from his sock in 2002, against the Seahawks — his recollection is surprisingly accurate.
Sure enough, Horn’s earlier touchdown in the cell phone game – a 50-yard catch from Brooks – came in the first quarter, in the end zone without the cell phone. It was his second, of four touchdowns he had that day, that came in the second quarter, in the end zone with the cell phone.
And Stallworth’s memory of the run-up to Horn’s celebration was fairly spot-on as well. After scoring two touchdowns six weeks earlier against Carolina, Horn went scoreless in the Saints’ next five games, including two in New Orleans, before breaking out against New York and gifting fans with one of the greatest look-at-me — defiant-of-the-repercussions — moments in NFL history.