The Lambeau Leap, the well-known touchdown celebration started by the Green Bay Packers in the 1990s, is one of the more endearing in the game. Who doesn't like the sight of a player jumping into the stands of his home stadium and bonding with the fans after a score? Though the NFL has curbed most touchdown celebrations, the Leap maintains its approved status, though there are conditions. One primary condition is that the league doesn't want group celebrations, scripted or otherwise.
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In a 34-14 beatdown of the Tennessee Titans that put his team on the verge of an AFC West title (which it won after the Cincinnati Bengals beat the San Diego Chargers), Kansas City Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles(notes) found this out the hard way. When receiver Dwayne Bowe(notes) scored on a 75-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, Bowe went into the stands at Arrowhead Stadium. Charles went in there as well, which was not OK with the NFL.
Well, now we know. Charles got an unsportsmanlike conduct call for jumping into the stands (apparently, the officiating crew didn't see quarterback Matt Cassel(notes) do the same), which led to the entertaining ruling that "only one man is permitted to jump into the stands."
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It didn't matter in the end -- the penalty yardage was assessed on the following kickoff and the Titans had no comeback in them -- but I'd love to hear from the NFL on this one. Is this the kind of thing teams are briefed on, or does it just sort of naturally fall under the league's feelings about group celebrations? Let that be a lesson to you, rogue celebrators -- wait until your teammate is out of the crowd before taking your turn!
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