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Dirty Tackle

The professional footballer's guide to acceptable activities following a loss

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle
Hull City v Manchester United - Premier League
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(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Surprising no one, Manchester United were eliminated from the Champions League quarterfinals by Bayern Munich. To their credit, they did give the champions of Europe a shock by taking the lead for 22 surreal seconds during the second leg in Munich. This was met with a quick and severe response and upon returning home, Man United players Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley were pictured having fun on a night out with friends — something human beings sometimes do when in a good mood or in an attempt to dig themselves out of a bad one.

Several publications ran the pictures with the implication that their "dancing in the street" was somehow inappropriate given the result of their last match. This is one of those strange yet commonly held beliefs among football fans and members of the press who seem to consider themselves the no-nonsense legal guardians of these athletes and it has persisted for years.

Though letting off steam after a bad day at work is perfectly normal and accepted for a person with just about any other job, it simply isn't the case for professional footballers. So in the interest of avoiding this silly outrage again, here is a guide to what footballers are allowed to do after a loss.

Close loss to a non-rival: A quiet dinner with your significant other, maintaining pursed lips the entire time. This makes eating difficult, but you should have thought about that before accepting large sums of money and still losing.

Big loss to a non-rival: A quiet dinner with your significant other, maintaining pursed lips and staring at the ground the entire time. If you make eye contact with anyone it means you don't care about the profession you've devoted your entire life to and you are incapable of human emotions.

Close loss to a rival: Must not leave the house for 48 hours to properly contemplate what you've done. Video game privileges are also revoked during this period and that means you can't play Candy Crush on your phone under the covers with the sound turned off either!

Big loss to a rival: Must not leave the house for 72 hours. All blinds must remain drawn the entire time and you may only listen to music by Dashboard Confessional. While wearing old pajamas that permanently smell like feet, you should eat an entire, freezer burnt container of your least favorite ice cream while crying and repeatedly shouting the phrase, "I don't deserve to be loved" to an uncaring stray cat. 

Elimination from a domestic competition: Must sit in the fetal position in an empty bathtub for no less than four hours. This is to be followed by personally delivering handwritten (in cursive) letters of apology and a jar of fresh tears to all the club's season ticket holders. Paying their electric bill is also advised.

Elimination from a continental competition: Immediately after the decisive match, you must zip yourself inside a sleeping bag (one of Arsene Wenger's old coats will suffice), blocking yourself off from all contact with the outside world until your next game. While sleeping, you must have at least four different nightmares per hours including one in which an unattended ventriloquist's dummy watches you take a shower, occasionally blinks and says, "ooo yeah..."

Caveat: All of these rules are null and void and dancing in the streets to stave off crippling depression and overwhelming feelings of hopelessness is explicitly encouraged if you have to look at the following facial expression at work every single day...

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Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!

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