When is celebrating excessive?

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By By Adam Prestridge
When is a celebration too excessive? When does celebrating warrant a penalty flag and a 15-yard march off?
During Saturdays Alabama-Ole Miss game, Marquis Maze scored on a 26-yard reception from a John Parker Wilson pass, and was flagged for celebrating after the touchdown. The celebration was a little pose where Maze crossed his arms and kind of nodded towards his teammates. Should he have done this to begin with? Probably not, but it really is not seen where he should have received an unsportsmanlike-conduct call.
Another unsportsmanlike conduct call that received a lot of complaints came a few weeks ago in the BYU-Washington game.
Washington’s quarterback Jake Locker scored a touchdown that with an extra-point would have tied the game for the Huskies. After he scored, Locker excited and pumped about scoring, tossed the ball a few feet in the air without thinking. He was hit with a 15-yard penalty and the Huskies were forced to kick the PAT from the 17-yard line instead of the three. The kicker missed the attempt and Washington lost the important game.
The call was unnecessary because Locker did not throw the ball in the air to taunt or insult the other team. He did it because he was jazzed up about scoring and putting his team in a better position to win.
Some days the referees just need to step back and think is this guy trying to be a jerk or is he just happy that he helped his team?
The only celebration in the last year that I have seen worthy of a 15-yard penalty should have been a 30-yard penalty because of the amount of people on the field. Last year’s Florida-Georgia game featured the most obnoxious celebration that I have ever witnessed. When Georgia coach Mark Richt sent every single player on to the field to celebrate after the team’s first score that should have resulted in more than a 15-yard penalty. That was just ridiculous. I’ll give Richt credit though because it took the steam out of the Gators and helped Georgia gain a big victory.
So maybe some celebrations deserve a 15-yard penalty, but do they ever deserve a fine.
The NFL sometimes fines its players for excessive celebrations and has become more determined to cut them out by creating rules about what celebrations can and cannot be allowed.
Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson and Steve Smith were some of the reasons that the rules were made.
Owens has been fined numerous times for his celebrations and even found out that a game ball costs $10,000.
The event in question took place several years ago when Owens played for the 49ers and he scored a touchdown. He pulled a Sharpie out of his sock, signed the ball and tossed it to a kid in the stands. Tuesday morning, he was slapped with a $10,000 fine. Turned out the kid had an illness and Owens was being a good Samaritan, which is something he is hardly ever seen as.
The point is that celebrations should be looked at closely before you throw a flag over someone who got excited and had no ill intentions or make someone fork over $10,000 because they wanted to make some kid’s day.
On another note, the referee who tackled the South Carolina quarterback on Saturday night should not get to officiate another game for a while. I don’t care what the SEC or Steve Spurrier say that guy went right at him and put him on the ground.
Chandler Myers is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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